Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 17:
Those wasting precious water in Odisha capital beware!
While the Public Health Engineering Organisation (PHEO) has decided to provide water connections to every house in the state capital, it has also decided to fit water meters in every house.
Consumers would be charged for water on the basis of units consumed and bills will be raised accordingly as in the case of electricity.
Under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) Yojana the PHEO has decided to fit water meters in the houses of one lakh consumers in the capital city within a span of three years at an estimated cost of about Rs 87 crore.
According to an estimate done by the PHEO, while currently 90,000 have water connections in the city it is expected to touch one lakh in three years. The idea behind the decision is the equitable distribution of supply water among all.
Currently, while localities, where VVIPs are residing, are being supplied with more water than the requirement, a majority of the areas in the capital city are getting less supply of water than the actual requirement.
Interestingly, not a single paisa is being earned as tax for 40% of water supplied.
The Urban Development department is of the view that fixing of water meters will be helpful in providing 155 litres of water per head to all and in achieving the target for water tax collection.
According to sources in the PHEO, while presently, Rs 18 crore is being collected towards water tax with the installation of water meters the collection would go up to Rs 25 crore. Installation of water meters will start from the current financial year, the sources added.
It has been decided to install automatic meter reading (AMR) type meters. However, these meters would now operate as mechanical meters and meter readers would visit houses of consumers to collect meter readings and deliver bills. Later these meters will be replaced with automatic meters. The decision was taken at a meeting of the state-level technical committee.
According to the decision of the state-level technical committee water meters will be installed in houses in the capital city in nine phases. Nine PHEO subdivisions have been identified for the purpose.
Water meters will be fixed in the first phase in government quarters under the high-level tank subdivision at an estimated cost of Rs 2.93 crore.
In the second phase water meters will be installed in unit IV area at an estimated cost of Rs 14.32 crore.
Similarly, Rs 5.35 crore has been earmarked for installing meters in Unit III, Rs 21.48 crore for Old Town, Rs 10.90 crore for Sahid Nagar, Rs 16.35 crore for Unit IX subdivision, Rs 13 lakh for Rent subdivision, Rs 8.21 crore for Chandrasekharpur area, Rs 7.19 crore for Ghatikia amounting to a sum of Rs 86.86 crore.
Water meters will be installed within the consumer’s premises. While consumers with commercial type connections will be charged at Rs 11.26 per unit (1,000 lts), consumers with domestic type connections will be charged at Rs 3.95 per unit.
Notably, prior to the announcement of AMRUT Yojana, the PHEO had two years back planned to fix water meters at an estimated cost of Rs 25 crore. The amount was also allocated in the budget. Since the type of meter could not be finalized, the allocated fund remained unutilized. The estimated cost rising to Rs 87 crore under the AMRUT Yojana has raised several eyebrows.