HYDERABAD: Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) Hyderabad has succeeded in bringing back about 43,000 out of over 150,000 consumers to pay their monthly water, sewerage and service charges bill through the recently launched online payment system.

Wasa’s director of finance and commercial Syed Mohsin Nazar Jafri told Dawn on Saturday that consumers received an SMS when the bill was generated and paid. “We ensure 35-36 per cent recovery and around Rs50 million in terms of monthly utility bills each month but if we reach 100 per cent recovery target, we will be able to get Rs100-120 million,” he said.

He said that the agency had surprisingly received positive response from consumers as around 7,000 consumers paid bills online in December 2020, the first month of the launch of the facility.

“Wasa has been striving to provide the best billing service to its customers. The new system ensures facility of online payment of water bill on its website. As soon as the user enters his bill ID in the required field by visiting the Wasa website, his or her current bill would emerge,” he said.

“Afterwards, the user will be informed about the facility of bill submission through debit card, credit card or internet banking. The bank’s services will appear to single out mode of payment that the user may go through it at home 24/7,” he said.

He said that even though the facility was launched in November 2020 it received a “marvellous” response from consumers as in December 2020, a total of 6,925 users took to the online payment mode, which was really a “milestone” in recovery of Wasa.

“We run the agency with Rs100m a month including Rs70m for salaries and Rs30m for logistics etc,” he said.

He stated that 50,000 out of 150,000 private domestic and commercial consumers were defaulters, while unfortunately hardly 2.5 per cent recovery was being made from federal and provincial government departments which retained total 474 connections.

He said that following recommendations of the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef)’s Water Safety Plan-2020 — improvement of services and bringing people into contact — Wasa launched a survey on Nov 24, 2020, in which officials asked consumers to share their mobile phone numbers so that they might have better access to the agency’s information.

“We have decided to conduct this survey together with our staff. A total of 42,739 numbers have been collected till now in three tehsils of Hyderabad district which have been divided into various zones. It was a successful drive that definitely helped increase revenue in future by directly contacting consumers about their current bill status including dues, payment and bill due date,” he said.

He said that if the water safety plan was implemented completely, Wasa employees who were often deprived of monthly salaries and other dues for months for want of funds would be paid regularly.

Published in Dawn, January 10th, 2021

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