The Vijayawada Municipal Corporation's ambitious plan to provide water connection to all households seems to have hit a roadblock. The number of connections given in last three months has dropped to 297 in June compared to the 957 in April this year. This includes applicants both in Below Poverty Line (BPL) and general categories. The VMC was unable to provide many water connections during last couple of months, as several of the applicants did not have property tax assessments, sources say.
The Corporation set a target of providing water connection on demand and cover all households in the city in 2007, itself. It was intended to make Vijayawada the first city in the country to have universal access to treated-water supply. Then, only 66,209 out of more than 1.60 lakh households in the city had tap connections or access to safe water.
As a result of the initiative, the VMC gave 5,705 connections to applicants in the BPL category and 2,702 connections to applicants in the general category taking the total connections close to 75,000 till end of 2009. The officials could provide connections to as many as 87,295 applicants till March this year. And, the total number of connections given till end of June stands close to 95,000.
The corporation revised the target of providing water connections to at least 1.20 lakh households, but now it is finding it difficult to go ahead with the proposal as the remaining households(without water connection) are not have property tax assessments. So VMC had a tough time finding 158 BPL families without water connections in June compared to 413 in found in April. Similarly, the connections given to applicants in general category have also dropped to 139 in June from 544 in April this year, sources say.
To encourage the coverage among the poor, the VMC offered connections at Rs. 2,500 to households with a Rs. 175-300 property tax limit, and further gave a 25 per cent discount on the same. Later, the corporation slashed the fee to just Rs. 200 per connection, and also offered to bear the expenses incurred on water pipes etc. The general category applicants have to pay Rs. 5,500 per connection.