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YSR for fixing water meters in Vijayawada

Special Correspondent

Opposition told to select between water meters and funds under JNNURM

VIJAYAWADA: Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy has made it clear that fixing of water meters is inevitable if the objective of supplying water round the clock is to be achieved.

"But we will take care of the interests of the poor and those who can't afford to pay by supplying the minimum required quantity of water free of cost," Dr. Reddy explained, talking to newspersons here on Saturday.

Participating in a string of programmes in Krishna district, the Chief Minister said that "some political parties" were trying to "politicise" the issue of water meters.

He maintained that only a pilot project would be implemented at a few places so that any problems that cropped up in the process could be sorted out before implementing the policy in the next few years.

Explaining at length the rationale behind the move to fix water meters, the Chief Minister said that water lines were getting contaminated due to `low pressure' in the pipelines during the hours when water was not being supplied.

This was resulting in the supply of contaminated water, leading to the breakout of `preventable diseases'. But supply of water round the clock would also lead to lot of wastage, which could be checked by fixing water meters, Dr. Reddy reasoned.

He said the Centre and the State Government together were in the process of providing huge funds to major cities under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), and Vijayawada alone stood to gain Rs.600 crores.

Polavaram project

Dr. Reddy told leaders of opposition parties, who met him to represent against water meters, that they would have to "decide between water meters and funds under JNNURM", hinting that meters were necessary if the funds were to be utilised.

At another programme at Lakshmipuram in Kruthivennu mandal, the Chief Minister said that the Government would certainly complete Pulichintala project by June 2008. By June this year, storage capacity of 14 tmcft would be created. Dr. Reddy said several political parties were creating problems in the way of Polavaram project but his Government was determined to complete it "with mercy of God and with your blessing. We will begin work on Polavaram project. We will not go back under any circumstances."