News

MPs’ overdue water bills to be cut from salaries

 

  • For former MPs, arrears to be recovered from pensions
  • Cabinet proposal soon from Water Supply Ministry
  • Present and former ministers, MPs notified of unpaid water bills

 

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

The Water Supply Ministry is currently in the process of preparing a cabinet proposal seeking permission to recover the due payments from the monthly salaries or pensions of ministers and members of Parliament (MPs) who continue to default on their water bills, The Morning learnt.

It was revealed last week that more than 45 current and former ministers and MPs have not paid the water bills of their official and private residences for years.

Accordingly, when contacted by The Morning to query as to what action the Water Supply Ministry would take in this regard, Water Supply Ministry Secretary Eng. Dr. Priyath Bandu Wickrama said that they have already taken many steps in order for the said due payments to be recovered.

“Water Supply Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara has instructed with regard to the steps to be taken. As one of such options, we are currently in the process of preparing a cabinet paper to obtain the permission to recover the unpaid monies from ministers’ and MPs’ salaries or pensions.”

Speaking further, he said that the Water Supply Ministry has also informed such ministers and MPs, both officially and individually. In addition, Dr. Wickrama said that the respective ministries of such ministers have also been informed of the matter.

“There are both current and former ministers and MPs who have not paid their water bills. Therefore, we have also informed the Parliament and the Public Services, Provincial Councils, and Local Government Ministry,” he added.

During a meeting held at the Water Supply Ministry on 28 January, it was revealed that more than 45 current and former ministers and MPs have not paid the water bills of their official and private residences for years. Commenting on the matter, Nanayakkara had told the media that the National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) officials had sent red notices and that he had personally asked the relevant ministers and MPs to pay their dues. He had also said that letters of demand would be sent to ministers and MPs who have skipped paying the water bills and that the country would know their names once legal actions are initiated against them.

“Price of water as a utility has not been increased for years. The NWSDB has powers to discontinue the supply of water to those who have not paid water bills running above Rs. 5,000 without prior notice. However, when the NWSDB officials suggested disconnecting the supply of such, I instructed them to take necessary actions against ministers and MPs before they take action against the public.”