THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala State Water Resources Regulatory Authority Bill, piloted by water resources minister P J Joseph in the assembly on Monday, won’t be passed during the current assembly session. The subject committee of the assembly, which met here on Tuesday, could not give a final shape to the amendments for the Bill.

Sources said along with LDF MLAs, a few members of the UDF also raised strong objections to certain clauses in the Bill. Following this, the subject committee decided to study the issue in detail and, if needed, seek public opinion before the final draft is presented in the assembly.

“When it was taken up for debate, members wanted a detailed study of some clauses. Hence, we decided not to press for the Bill during the current session,” P J Joseph told TOI. He, however, ruled out the chances for referring the Bill to a select committee so that views of general public can also be incorporated.

It is learnt that the clause that maintains to fix the tariff for drinking water supply based on the cost of the project and other expenses incurred was the one which invited the wrath of the members. Cutting across political lines, MLAs shared apprehension that it would shoot up water bills and turn water an unaffordable commodity for the common man. The minister himself was against another clause which might give uncontrolled power to fix tariff to the authority.

The Bill was formulated by the government in 2011 as suggested by the 13th Finance Commission. It was first promulgated as an ordinance on November 30, 2011. The ordinance had been renewed every six months and the Bill was first introduced in the assembly on Monday.

The Bill suggests forming an authority, on the lines of Kerala state electricity regulatory authority, to control the drinking water distribution. The three-member authority will monitor water supply and decide on the amount of water required for various sections of consumers. It will also insist on the quality norms to be followed by various agencies engaged in drinking water distribution.

Courtesy: THE TIMES OF INDIA

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