Municipal Corporation of Gurugram to build 15 water ATMs in city
The Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) will be soon installing 15 new water ATMs across the city, said officials on Monday.
The development comes just a month after the Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) directed its enforcement wing to demolish 29 such structures, which were found to be built on pavements of master roads and were encroaching the right of way (ROW) of pedestrians. Although the demolition of the existing structures was to be completed by July 15, their contractors obtained a stay order from the district court, said MCG officials.
Now, in consonance with the original agreement of installing a total of 60 water ATMs across the city, the MCG has given its approval for constructing the remaining 15 of such structures across the city.
“We have given a go-ahead to the concessionaires for resuming construction of the remaining ATMs as a stay from the local court has been obtained. Forty-five such water ATMs have already been constructed. In a few of them, water connection work is yet to be complete, on which the MCG is currently working. Besides these, work on remaining 15 has commenced,” said Amit Sandilya, executive engineer, MCG.
The water ATMs were planned to provide chilled distilled water to the city residents at affordable prices. Residents can obtain 20 litres of water for Rs 10, 1 litre for Rs 3, and 250 millilitres for Rs 2 from the water ATMs.
In September last year, the MCG had signed an agreement with Earth Water Limited and SR Paryavaran Engineers Private Limited for constructing 60 water ATMs across the city.
As per the agreement, Earth Water Limited had to install 45 water ATMs in MCG’s zones 2, 3 and 4 while SR Paryavaran Engineers Private Limited had to install 15 in zone 1. As per MCG officials, since March this year, 35 water ATMs have been constructed in zones 2, 3, and 4, and 10 in zone 1.
“As per our agreement with the MCG, we were allocated space to construct water ATMs near Metro stations and bus shelters. Accordingly, land was allocated to us by the MCG. When the GMDA raised objections, we approached the local court and got a stay on their demolition order,” said Simmi Harding, spokesperson, Earth Water Limited.
Despite repeated calls, there was no response from the officials of SR Paryavaran Engineers Private Limited officials.
Harding further said that while passing the stay order, the court had directed the GMDA to carry out an inspection of all water ATMs in the city along with the concessionaires and look for alternative sites, if needed. Harding said that the GMDA is yet to initiate any proceedings for the inspections.
Prior to issuing the demolition order last month, GMDA had raised two main objections regarding water ATMs.
During their own survey, GMDA had found 29 such facilities to be constructed on pavements located next to the master roads such as Golf Course Road, MG Road, Sohna Road, and Netaji Subhash Marg. The GMDA had noticed that the ATMs were blocking the right of way (ROW) of pedestrians and that they had been constructed without any approval or permission from them.
The second issue they raised was that most water ATMs was sourcing water from GMDA pipelines free of cost, without seeking any permission from them.
Lalit Arora, chief engineer, GMDA, however, declined to comment on the matter.
Sarika Panda Bhatt, program coordinator with Haryana Vision Zero said that pavements need to be completely free of encroachments including public utilities. “As per the guidelines of the Indian Road Congress (IRC), pavements need to be completely free of any encroachment including benches, dustbins, and street light poles. Unfortunately, this guideline is not adopted by public bodies across the city. Even some of the bus shelters have been constructed over pavements. Water ATMs also fall in the same category, and violate the ROW of pedestrians,” said Bhatt.
Bhatt said that as per the IRC guidelines, a clear width of 2.3 metres needs to be reserved for pedestrians. “Public utilities can only be constructed, provided that the width of pavements exceeds 3.5 metres or 4.5 metres for commercial ventures and 2.5 metres of clear path is reserved for pedestrians,” she said.