NEW DELHI: The government has extended the benefits of the free lifeline water to group housing societies this year. However, few are likely to get any advantage from it.
Group housing societies are bulk consumers to whom Delhi Jal Board supplies a huge quantum of water each month. There are around 2,500 such societies registered with DJB. Residents pay a fixed amount to the society as maintenance charges, irrespective of how much they consume. This was the main reason for not including group housing societies in the ambit of the lifeline water sop in 2014, leaving residents of areas like IP Extension, Dwarka and Rohini bereft of advantages of the scheme.
This time, the AAP-led government has included group housing societies, clearly without giving much thought to how it will be implemented. While sources claimed that it is now DJB's responsibility to implement it, the water utility plans indicate that this time too the advantages of this scheme are unlikely to reach most such residents.
"Based on the number of occupied flats in a society, we will calculate their free water entitlement. For instance, if there are 100 flats, the free water supply will be 2,000 kilolitres per month. If consumption is more, then the entire amount will be paid for. There is no other mechanism," said sources.
The flaw in the system can be seen immediately. Families consuming less — small families or single persons — will be dependent on the usage pattern of other residents in the society to be able to reap any benefit. Individual flats do not have meters which makes it impossible to gauge consumption. "My husband and I live in a flat in IP Extension. Our consumption is definitely less than 20,000 litres per month. It is highly unfair that we will be dependent on consumption of our neighbours, all families with 4-6 members, to avail of this scheme," said Vandana Garg, a consultant.
Dwarka was left out last time since water supply to the area was DDA's responsibility. It will officially benefit from Delhi government's scheme this time since DJB will take over supply possibly by the end of this month, though it will also face similar problems of unequal consumption.