By Arhaan Faraaz | Hyderabad
INN IMPACT The government could supply free water to a sizeable population in the city from February this year, a top minister said, as the water board begins preparing a feasibility proposal on supplying certain quota of free water to denizens in the city.
A day after INN Live highlighted (Concern: If Delhi Can, Why Not Free Water In Hyderabad?) how the Delhi government’s scheme of providing 667 litres of free water per day to every household could be replicated for the aam aadmi in Hyderabad by putting an end to wastage of water and checking pilferage, the government convened a high-level meeting on Thursday to discuss the newspaper’s suggestion and take stock of the existing scenario.
“I have asked the water board officials to prepare a detailed proposal on free water supply to the city, within a week or 10 days. I also asked them to work out the modalities of installing water meters in all areas where they do not exist and improving revenue earnings,” the minister for municipal administration and urban development, Maheedar Reddy, told INN Live.
“Once the proposal is received from the water board, we will discuss it with the chief minister,” he said, after discussing the way forward with labour and employment minister Danam Nagender, marketing and warehousing minister Mukesh Goud and several Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board officials.
During the meeting, Nagender said the city has enough available water to supply free water to people in slum areas. Mukesh Goud said the government should take steps to implement it before the forthcoming elections in the city. “it is a good scheme to quench the thirst of poor people who cannot afford to buy water. If all goes well, we will announce it by February,” Reddy added.
A committee will be constituted soon to work out the modalities to launch free water supply scheme in other municipalities and municipal corporations in the state as well, he said.
Hyderabad Water Board managing director J Syamala Rao, director projects M Satyanarayana, director of revenue P S Suryanarayana and director of operations P Manohar Babu, also attended the meeting, among others.
They also discussed the status of two major drinking water supply schemes, Godavari Drinking Water Supply Scheme Phase-I and Krishna Drinking Water Supply Scheme Phase-III, which will augment supply to the city and surrounding GHMC circles by a total of 262 mgd.
Water board officials said they are also studying the free water supply scheme implemented by Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal this week.
A civil society group later called a media conference to explain how 1.5 lakh slum dwellers could be given free water with immediate effect.
“If the water board collects all the dues, collects 25% of share of property from GHMC, gets the power connection modified from commercial to domestic and finally takes steps to stop 30% leakage, the board will run in profit and can give water free to all the poor people living in slums and other areas,” said M Padmanabha Reddy, secretary, Forum for Good Governance.