Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan yesterday called for installation of water meters in each and every part of the district. However, MiD DAY visited some places where the meters are reportedly being installed as a part of a pilot project, and the residents claimed they are not aware of any such initiative by Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).
Dileep Erande, a retired engineer staying at Rajas Society in Katraj said, “I am staying in this area for the last 20 years. I haven’t heard anything about water meters being established here. Rajas is a society of government employees and there’s an urgent need to install water meters in all houses and commercial establishments surrounding the neighbourhood to avoid water wastage.” Incidentally, Erande has also worked on the Khadakwasla-Pune waterline project, and knows the nitty-gritty about water meter installation.
While speaking at a seminar on water conservation organised at the Gokhale Institute of Politics & Economics, Chavan had stressed that cities like Pune and Mumbai should achieve 100 per cent target with water meters. “Water wars are now happening at district and taluka levels. Need for enforcement from a water regulation authority is also being felt. Hence decentralised water storage should be promoted to avoid possible social and environmental ill-effects of big dam constructions,” the CM said.
“Also, to reduce water wastage in urban areas like Pune and Mumbai, we should achieve 100 per cent water meterisation under the drinking water scheme. Day by day, water and water usage-wastage issues are getting more acute,” he added. When MiD DAY contacted PMC officers, they revealed that citizens are voluntarily applying for installation of water meters at their homes and offices. Areas like Pune Cantonment Board have water meter scheme since British era. There are four thousand estimated water meter installations in cantonment area.
Junior Engineer Gauri Gavate said, “After we receive an application from any citizen, we verify all the documents. The citizen is supposed to purchase the water meter, while the PMC employees only check whether the meter is in good operating condition. After this, a plumber installs the water meter at the specified location.
In Swargate division of water department of PMC, only 461 citizens have so far installed meters.” Meanwhile, a PMC official, on condition of anonymity said, “We receive a lot of complaints about water meters’ faulty operation. With such defective meters, a common user getting an average bill of Rs 50 starts getting bills of Rs 90, which is almost double. To avoid such instances, PMC should take responsibility of providing good water meters.”
1.3 lakh The number of meters installed in Pimpri Chinchwad area