DJB may consider coercive steps to make people get sewer connections
The Delhi Jal Board (DJB) has been told to consider taking “coercive” steps, on the lines of those taken by the Haryana government, such as disconnecting water connections to persuade residents of unauthorised colonies to apply for sewer connections.
The NGT-appointed Yamuna pollution monitoring committee in a meeting asked the water utility to consider taking such steps in colonies where sewerage connections have already been laid.
“The DJB must submit an action plan to ensure all residents of colonies with sewerage network obtain sewer connections. The board must explore the feasibility of adopting coercive measures such as those taken by Haryana, where water connections of residents were withdrawn in case they failed to get a sewer connection,” the minutes of the meeting last month said.
The national capital has over 1,700 unauthorised colonies with a population of around 40 lakh. Only around 14%-15% of these colonies have a sewerage network, as per the status report filed by the committee last year.
In the absence of sewer connections, the sewage (faecal sludge) directly flows into drains and water bodies which ultimately ends up polluting the river. The committee also pulled up the Jal Board for not taking steps in this direction, even as the sewage from these colonies emptying into the Yamuna is causing a major environment hazard.
In colonies where sewerage network has been laid, the number of people having a sewer connection is very low. Residents have been reported to be unwilling to pay the sewage charges, the committee had stated in its report.
While officials agreed to the number of legal connections being low, they said they are holding consultations on the steps that could be taken to sensitise people.
DJB vice-chairman Dinesh Mohaniya said the board is planning to conduct an awareness drive in this regard, urging people to apply for legal connections.
“We have already offered a rebate of 80% on securing a connection. We are holding consultations to see what other steps could be taken to urge more people to apply for connections. We may also start an awareness drive,” Mohaniya said.
The sewer connection is procured along with the water connection. “As far as withdrawing water connection is concerned, we have not been doing that. But we are pondering some strict measures to make people take sewer connections,” he said.