No doubt better means need be devised to reduce the water losses / capacity loss due to system breakdowns, to draw out maximum possible benefit out of the hydraulic modelling got done through J&K Economic Reconstruction Agency employing ‘Consultant Teams’ and replacement of the old/irregular system lines, making it mandatory for the field departments to attend the individual consumer complaints within set time limit but surely also recording the “Connection Number of the Consumer “while taking the complaint in and disposing the same in the records ( with this the unauthorised connections could be better identified, the undue water losses will reduce and ofcourse the revenue will also increase) and to impose as low as possible domestic drinking water supply tariffs.J&K State Water Resources Regulatory Authority has vide order number Order No. 75/WRRA of 2021 of 23-08-2021 revised the water usage charges for the year 2021-2022 to domestic users on flat rate for ½ inch Domestic connection to Rs.3000 per year for Urban users and for ¾ inch Urban Domestic connection to Rs. 5700/ year. Near about the same the Chief Minister NCT of Delhi has announced continuing supply free of cost drinking water to domestic consumers using upto 20000 litre water month.Kejriwal out in the field for 2022 legislative Assembly Elections to Punjab Legislative Assembly has also thrown similar welfare scheme for Punjab in case APP is voted to power. Ofcourse Kejriwal Government has in Delhi extended no electricity charges for 200 unit per month consumption.Arvind Kejriwal government extending some more freebees has reasoned its having been able to do so with good governance, better operating and money use efficiency without loading the community with any additional taxes. Without going into the controversies on his claims and minute ground data one thing is sure that he has been giving 20000 litre water per month to domestic users and has made some ‘more’ political leaders to think on his lines.No doubt in earlier years even a King used to try for supplying drinking water with no burdening costs. So , any one who makes effort to supply minimum water needs at no cost must be appreciated, the need had become even more acute in view of the Corona-19/ Lockdowns during 2020 as well as 2021 when many households got their income reduced/ income cut ( no doubt the government employees / pensioners had to face lesser burnt) but the J&K Government even revised on higher side the tariff for 2020 as well 2021 ( please see Table-A).Ofcourse the demands, infrastructure have largely grown over the years could be seen from the fact that in 1954 Jammu city had hardly about 3500 water connections and today in 2020 the domestic connections
may be around 150000 ( as per some reports appearing in media in 2014 PHE Jammu had a total of 1,21,814 domestic water connections in Jammu city, 78,970 water connections in City-I Division (Old city) and 42,844 in City-II division. There were 13,549 commercial water connections in Jammu city, comprising of 12092 connections in City I division and 1457 in City-II division. May be if needed the department corrects data and makes public the exact number of domestic and commercial water connections in Jammu and Srinagar cities as on date . Effort was made to have the data for 2020/2021 but that could not be obtained from the websites of department concerned (not even from the site of J&K State Water Resources Regulatory Authority appointed under Jammu and Kashmir Water Resources (Regulation and Management) ACT, 2010).No doubt better means need be devised to reduce the water losses / theft/ capacity loss like making it mandatory for the field departments to attend the individual consumer complaints within set time limit but surely also recording the “Connection Number of the Consumer ” while taking the complaint in and disposing the same in the records ( with this the unauthorised connections could be better identified , the undue labour / water losses will reduce and ofcourse the revenue will also increase).No doubt as suggested earlier also for this the PHE officers atleast of the level of Assistant Engineer and above will have to be provided regular security in the form of PSOs.(Daya Sagar Sr Journalist / Analyst Jammu & Kashmir Affairs [email protected]).
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