In an attempt to tide over shortage of meter readers, Delhi Jal Board (DJB) has been planning to outsource work related to reading of water meters on a bi-monthly basis.
The "outsourcing" will start in south Delhi area, which has roughly three lakh connections. If need be, the job can be extended for more number of connections in future.
The DJB has around 3,000 meter readers with each reading approximately 3,000 to 5,000 meters per month. The government policy bans any kind of recruitment except for that of engineers and hence there has been no recruitment for over a decade now, said an official.
But sources within the Jal Board said there is no ban on compensatory and ad hoc appointments in any category. DJB officials said lack of accountability in the government sector also creates problems for extracting efficient work from the staffers.
Keeping in mind all such factors, outsourcing is the only way out, they said.Pumping stations, Sonia Vihar water treatment plant and the Rithala sewage treatment plant are a few examples where operations have been outsourced to private parties.
The DJB has already sought expression of interest from firms that have the know-how and resources for house-to-house meter reading. "Private firms which cater to power companies already have the expertise, human resources and the computerised database for the properties. It will be easier for them to add water meter reading in their repertory," said Ramesh Negi, DJB CEO.
Calling it as a decision based on financial prudence, Negi refuted charges of privatisation of services and added, "We are outsourcing not giving them any ownership of any kind.
Moreover, with private participation vis-à-vis outsourcing, we are hoping for more accountability."
The system should be in place in few months' time.