Lok Adalats for water disputes in Delhi

Smriti Kak Ramachandran

They will be organised on rotational basis in various zones

NEW DELHI: Taking a cue from the power distribution companies, the Delhi Jal Board too is in the process of initiating Lok Adalats to settle pending disputes and recover outstanding bills.

In about a month's time from now, the water utility for the first time will organise Lok Adalats in various zones of the city for quick redress of disputes. “These Lok Adalats will be organised jointly with the Delhi Legal Services Authority. They will be organised on a rotational basis across each zone in the city,” said a DJB official .

“The Adalats will give the Board and the consumers a chance to settle pending issues across the table. There will be no lengthy legal procedure, just a quick hearing and a settlement,” he said.

Consumers who have already sought legal assistance and have filed petition in any court, including the consumer court can withdraw their cases and make a representation to the DLSA for a hearing at the Lok Adalat. The idea for organising these Adalats was proposed by the consumers at various interactions with the DJB officials.

“Anyone wishing to settle their ongoing dispute with the DJB can come there. All they have to do is to make a representation for the same,” said the official . Referring to the issues that lead to a dispute he said: “Most consumer complaints fall into two broad categories. They either complain that they were not supplied water and yet sent a bill or the contest the bills on the grounds that they have been charged for far more than they consumed,” he said.

The exercise will also help the Jal Board recover the money that is long overdue.

The Jal Board is also contemplating an extension to the scheme of replacing water meters for domestic category consumers. A senior Jal Board official said owing to the requests from consumers the last date for the scheme could be extended by three more month from March 31. “But that decision will be taken by the Chief Minister's office,” he said.