Water meter installation gets PMC nod
Before the civic polls,all political parties in Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) had unanimously opposed the decision to install water meters in the city. After the polls,in a meeting of the same standing committee elected representatives approved the long pending proposal to install water meters to avoid loss of water and make every household pay for water as per usage.
Despite a clarification from the civic administration that it was mandatory to install water meters as per a rider by the Centre to get benefits under JNNURM,the proposal had been opposed so far. There were reservations on implementation of the proposal but after a clarification by the civic administration,the proposal was given the go ahead, said standing committee chairman Ganesh Bidkar.
According to the proposal,there was huge loss of water in the city due to various reasons but it was attributed to leakages. The installation of meters from the starting point to the consumer would ascertain actual use by every household and help improve water supply system. There are six lakh properties in the civic jurisdiction and at least three lakh meters need to be installed. The civic body would incur the cost of meter installation from consumers through property bills in the next five bills after installation, the proposal states.
It says that every person requires 135 litre of water every day for domestic use and any further use should be checked. It pointed out that the rates would be normal till 150 litre per day and those exceeding this will pay Rs 33 per 1,000 litre. At present,the PMC has 40 per cent population in slums and it charges Rs 365 from a slum but most of them do not pay tax. Hence,water meters would be installed for groups of people in slums and charges per usage charged from them.
PMC will be able to conduct a water audit and fix the problem of water loss in the city. It could be possible to find the actual water being drawn from Khadakwasla dam and that distributed to citizens. The civic administration would also be able to locate illegal connections due to the new system and find the quantity of water being supplied to an area. This would help the administration to work on equitable distribution.
Political parties had been opposing it citing failure of the previous attempt to install water meters 10 years ago. The administration clarified that the meters available in the market were of good quality and there will not be any repetition of problems as in the past.
Octroi changes to hike revenue
To manage increased expense,the PMC administration has proposed to withdraw octroi exemption on the essential commodities while increasing rates of petroleum products,including LPG. There is a need to withdraw octroi exemption on essential commodities to increase revenue of the civic body, said Mahesh Pathak,municipal commissioner in the proposal. Hence,there will be 50 paise octroi per 10 kg of essential commodities. The octroi for petrol and diesel has been increased from two per cent to three per cent while octroi for LPG has been proposed to be hiked to four per cent from three. The PMC administration has maintained octroi rates on other goods but slightly increased the rates for furniture. The proposal would be tabled before the standing committee on Thursday.