Associations like VARWA could bring out booklets on issues like water supply, education and transport and circulate them among the common people to mobilise their support.

Drinking water is an essential pre-requisite for the sustenance of life and any attempt to commercialise supply of water for domestic needs should be opposed tooth and nail, said speakers at a roundtable on City Development Plan (CDP) – Water Issues, organised by the Visakhapatnam Apartment Residents’ Welfare Association (VARWA) here on Saturday.

MLC M.V.S. Sarma underlined the need to educate the general public on the fallacy of handing over implementation of water supply projects to private organisations on a platter. The objective of the government seemed to be promotion of ‘private interests’ and they could be thwarted only when the public wage united struggles.

He said the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) doesn’t have an elected body. The ex-officio members were also not being consulted before taking important decisions. He recalled how the GVMC was made to bow to the demands of the people on the property tax hike, Vacant Land Tax and the Building Penalisation Scheme following a public outcry.

While appreciating the initiatives taken by VARWA, Mr. Sarma said experts should suggest alternatives to overcome drinking water shortage and augmentation of water resources. Associations like VARWA could bring out booklets on issues like water supply, education and transport and circulate them among the common people to mobilise their support.

Former professor of Geology, G. Krishna Rao underlined the importance of groundwater protection and augmentation. He expressed concern at the declining quality of ground water due to pollution and seepage of drain water from UGD, which was not properly executed in some areas.

Former professor of the Geo Engineering Department of AU V. Venkateswara Rao said a number of tanks were being encroached upon in areas in the GVMC limits. He underlined the importance of the restoration of tanks for groundwater recharge and storm water storage.

Former principal of AU College of Engineering R.V. Rama Rao said Rs.33 crore was sanctioned for the reinforcement of geddas but after seven years, they continue to inundate the low-lying areas. He attributed it to the ‘piece meal’ work undertaken, apart from the encroachment of geddas and building of houses on them.

He felt that instead of high sounding proposals like ‘24/7’ drinking water supply, the first priority of the corporation should be to provide water for at least two hours a day. Retired Chief Engineer of the Irrigation Department S. Satyanarayana lamented the undue delay in implementation of the Polavaram project.

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