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DJB?s new meter scheme draws flak

The DJB's call to people to buy new water meters from the market and replace old ones is drawing harsher criticism than the tariff hike.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON NOV 19, 2004 01:46 AM IST

The DJB's call to people to buy new water meters from the market and replace old ones is drawing harsher criticism than the tariff hike.

Residents say meters are government property and they shouldn't be asked to pay for the cost to replace or repair them. "Putting this responsibility on consumers is very wrong. The DJB should buy high-quality meters and replace old ones without burdening people," said H.D. Shourie, of Common Cause, a consumer right organisation.

Shourie has written a "strong letter" to DJB chief Rakesh Mohan.

The few ISI brands meters available cost up to Rs 700 for domestic connections. But shopkeepers are unwilling to assure if the meters would work after the one-year guarantee.

Residents say this means they may have to spend up to Rs 1,000 every year or two on new meters.

"DJB meter readers have stopped visiting colonies, as people keep complaining that the old meters don't work. If the DJB could not find right meters in so many decades, how does it expect us to get them in a few months," said a RWA member.

A DJB official admitted there are "supply constraints" and they can get only a certain number of meters every month from approved manufacturers. "We will approve some more companies. This way we can achieve our goal of 100 per cent metering," he said.

Fact sheet

Total DJB consumers: 14,00,000

Metred connections: 10,78,000

Of them, 4,63,540 don’t work

Unmetred: 3,22,000

7,85,540 don’t pay by meter

Only 6,14,460 pay by meter

(Source: DJB study in 2003)

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