Even as the Punjab and Haryana High court had in 2000 directed the Chandigarh municipal corporation to install all domestic water meters on its own, the civic body is all set to implement the revised water bylaws-2011 from December 1 which envisages that the residents will have to change faulty meters themselves.
As per the revised bylaws approved in July this year, the replacement of faulty domestic water meters will now be the responsibility of consumers and not that of the MC. The amended rules also state that in case a defective water meter is not replaced in a time-bound manner by the consumer concerned, penalty will be charged in the next cycle of billing. The consumers installing the meters on their own will not have to pay meter rent and their meter security will be refunded.
Giving its judgment on a petition filed by the members of Sector 15 Residents’ Welfare Association in August 2000, the high court had directed the MC to continue with the practice of replacing water meters on its own and not by the consumers.
A senior official in the MC’s public health wing said since there was no provision of this in the bylaws earlier, the same has been incorporated in the revised bylaws and people will have to get the water meters replaced on their own.
Surinder Sharma, president, Sector 15 Residents’ Welfare Association said, “When the MC had accepted the judgment, why it is amending the bylaws. Is it not contempt of court?”
Also, automatic reading meters which were to be bought by non-domestic consumers are not available in the local market. The price of an automatic reading meter is nearly Rs 7000, an official said.
As per the amended bylaws, the MC will only provide lists of approved automatic reading meters for all the non-domestic consumers for accurate measurement as these are major utility areas, but consumer has to buy one from market. It includes commercial/industrial/institutional sectors, besides government and private residential houses having an area above two kanals.