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Unauthorised water connections pose a challenge

Staff Reporter
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Water woes:(From left) Kathyayini Chamaraj, executive trustee, CIVIC; T. Venkatraju, Engineer-in-chief, BWSSB; Narayan, Chief Engineer, BWSSB; and V. Balasubramanian, former Additional Chief Secretary, at a public consultation in Bangalore on Friday.— Photo: Harini Shibaraya
Water woes:(From left) Kathyayini Chamaraj, executive trustee, CIVIC; T. Venkatraju, Engineer-in-chief, BWSSB; Narayan, Chief Engineer, BWSSB; and V. Balasubramanian, former Additional Chief Secretary, at a public consultation in Bangalore on Friday.— Photo: Harini Shibaraya

Unauthorised water connections in the slums will be a challenge in the implementation of the BWSSB’s slum development component of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) project, said Narayan, Chief Engineer (Cauvery), BWSSB, here on Friday.

Speaking at a public consultation on the implementation of the project, Mr. Narayan said the BWSSB would provide new metered connections to 96 slums in the city in the initial stage. Once the new water connections are provided, the slum-dwellers will have to pay Rs. 73 a month for 8,000 litres, which will also include the sanitary charges and the meter service charge. Beyond the 8,000 litres, they will have to pay an additional fee for every litre.

Forming committees

To implement the same, he said that the BWSSB would form Water and Sanitation (WATSAN) committees that would involve the community members to tackle the water woes of the residents and also tackle the valve-men mafia. The committees would also help residents understand the procedure for payment of bills and attend to their water grievances, he added.

The public consultation, which was organised by CIVIC, also revealed findings of their survey, conducted in 15 slums. It showed that the people living in the slums were unaware of the Grievance Redressal System (GRS) of the BWSSB.

Jyothi A. of CIVIC said, “The redressal meeting, which is conducted from 7.30 a.m. to 9.30 a.m. is also inconvenient for the community.”

Some of the other findings of the survey was that the people were unaware of the WATSAN committees. She said the BWSSB had not yet started the civil works and had not laid the pipelines for the project. Responding to that, Mr. Narayan said the project would be completed and the authorities would extend the deadline even further for this project. “The work will start in January 2013 and be completed in a year,” he added.

Kathyayini Chamaraj, executive trustee, CIVIC, highlighted the plight of the slum-dwellers and said they were forced to pay money for the “free” tanker supply and that they had to travel long distances to collect water. “As many as eight to ten houses share one tap and only a few areas get water daily, which causes inconvenience to them,” she added. Pressing for a pro-poor policy, she said that the BWSSB should move the present community sources to household water connections. “This would reduce diseases from contaminated water and help in improving hygiene in the slums. This in turn would reduce their health expenditure,” she added.

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