The ruling Shiv Sena has, finally, joined its alliance partner and opposition parties in their demand that the municipal corporation must not allow the water utility firm to install water meters in the city. Sena leaders on Sunday also opposed the recovery of water charges by the private firm.
Following the footsteps of the Bharatiya Janata Party, MIM and opposition parties, the Shiv Sena leaders and corporators demanded that the municipal administration must stop the company from installing water meters till the water supply systems improves.
In the special meeting of party workers and corporators on Sunday, Aurangabad MP Chandrkant Khaire said the scarcity-hit consumers in the city should not be forced to install the meters. “The consumers are receiving tap water after a gap of three to four days, there is no need of water meter at this point in time,” he said.
While the BJP and others are openly criticising the Aurangabad City Water Utility Company Limited (ACWUCL) for allegedly spoiling the city’s water supply system and aggravating scarcity, the Shiv Sena was on the back foot till now as its was a pet project of the city MP.
Sena corporator Raju Vaidya said the party was not in favour of forcing the consumers to install water meters. “People across the city are bearing the brunt of scarcity but the company officials are trying to install meters. Moreover, people are also opposing the move and the party has decided to support the common man,” he said.
The party has also asked the municipal administration to refrain the company officials for collecting water charges from the consumers. “We have been receiving complaints from the consumers about the company representatives behaving rudely with them. The party wants municipal administration to recover the charges and let the company collect only the pending bills,” he said.
Highlighting the importance of the meters, municipal commissioner Prakash Mahajan recently said all consumers should be made accountable for every drop of water they consume. “We are making efforts to get a berth in the central government’s Smart Cities project and installation of water meters is a crucial step in that direction,” he had said.
Under the Rs 792-crore water distribution project planned under public private partnership (PPP) model, the utility company is entitled to install water meters to all the connections and collect water charges along with pending dues. However, the BJP and other parties are strongly opposing it.
According to the proposal passed in the general body meeting and the clauses of concessioner agreement signed between the AMC and the water utility company, the installation process has to be completed within three years from September 1, 2014.
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