Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said his government has started the process for providing 24×7 water supply to the city by appointment of a consultant for improving Delhi’s water network, which is “not good” at present.
In a virtual address, the CM said that before the Delhi assembly elections, the Aam Aadmi Party had promised that it would ensure 24×7 clean water supply in each household in the next five years.
“We have started that process. In a Delhi Jal Board meeting on Thursday, we began the process of appointment of a consultant who will give us suggestions on what we need to do to provide 24×7 water to each household,” Kejriwal said.
He was referring to the ‘one zone – one operator’ scheme that was approved in a Delhi Jal Board (DJB) meeting on Thursday, For the implementation of this, a consultant will be appointed.
Under the scheme, the city will be divided into at least seven zones, with each zone having one private contractor. This contractor will be responsible for operation and management of the water and sewerage network of the area for a period of 10 years.
The contractor would provide services such as installation of water and sewage connections, and fixing leaks in the water and sewage network, which DJB officials have said is a precursor to 24×7 water supply and clean Yamuna.
These are the services that were already being done by multiple private contractors on behalf of the DJB in a particular area, but the new scheme brings all of them under a single contractor in charge of that zone.
DJB staff would supervise their work, conduct checks on quality maintenance, and retain powers for billing and levying fines — which would not be hiked, officials said.
Ankit Srivastava, a technical advisor to the DJB, had told The Indian Express earlier: “For 24×7 supply, we need proper household water connections, and for clean Yamuna we need sewage lines so that sewage does not enter the river… Jal Board had a supervisory role earlier and will continue with that.”
In the virtual address, the CM emphasised that the DJB’s services were not being privatised, and that the process for appointment of a consultant would have been initiated in March or April had there not been the Covid-19 outbreak.
“Some opposition colleagues wrongly believe that this is privatisation. We are not doing any privatisation and I believe privatisation of water should not be done at all,” the CM said.
He also added that the consultant being appointed would advise the Board on the latest technology that can be used to improve the water supply system.
“A lot of water is currently wasted in Delhi, it’s management is not good and there’s no accountability of the system. The consultant will tell us about how to improve the management and accountability of water so that it is not wasted,” Kejriwal said.
The CM added that water being supplied to the city at present was being done at low pressure, because of which residents have to install pumps and store the water in overhead tanks.
“We have to end all of this. Just like other capital cities around the world get 24 hour water supply, on full pressure, without requirement of tankers and water pumps — we will do that in Delhi too. We will make water supply in Delhi just like it is in developed nations,” the CM said.
He also added that 930 million gallons per day (MGD) of water is supplied to two crore residents of the city at present, which needs to be augmented and talks are underway with states including Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, for obtaining more water from them.
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