Punjab mulls law to save water, fine for those wasting it

Punjab mulls law to save water, fine for those wasting it

Advocating strict measures to save water in the state, CM Amarinder Singh Thursday said that due to free water supply or flat rate charges that the consumers did not think twice before wasting water. Chairing a meeting of Urban Renewal and Reforms Consultative Group, he proposed to impose penalty on those who waste water and default on bill payment.

Amarinder also said that Punjab government could bring a legislation to conserve water and prevent the state from “going dry”.

“If needed, the state could go for a separate legislation to ensure conservation of water and prevent Punjab from going dry,” he said according to an official statement.

The meeting also discussed the possibility of switching to volumetric tariff with installation of meters to stop wastage of water as well as to make the operation and maintenance of water supply/sewerage sustainable.

Punjab charges a flat rate based on area of the consumer’s house. There are no charges for consumers having less than 125 square yards houses. While meters were installed in Patiala, 75 per cent were not working.

Sources told The Indian Express that Amarinder talked tough and asked his ministers not to throw a spanner in government’s efforts to conserve water lest the coming generations would curse them. He suggested penalisation of those wasting water.

This silenced the ministers who were opposing Punjab Water Regulation Authority especially its mandate to levy tariff on potable water. He made it clear to the meeting that the Urban Local Bodies would be authorised to levy or increase the water tariff in their area after passing a resolution in their elected house.

Sources said it was also discussed in the meeting that last time the water tariff was levied by Congress government only and Akalis had made it an issue in their subsequent term.

The CM asked the departments of Local Government and Water Supply & Sanitation to organise special camps to educate the people especially in the rural areas about the need for water preservation. He also appealed to the MLAs to organise mass contact programmes at district, sub division and block levels to mobilise public opinion to save every drop of water.

Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, Housing & Urban Development Minister Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Food & Civil Supplies Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Senior Advisor to CM Lt General (retd.) T S Shergill, Media Advisor to CM Raveen Thukral, and several MLAs were present in the meeting.