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Parties want installation of water meters to be put on hold
Ahead of polls
8/26/2018 11:41:32 PM
Early Times Report

SRINAGAR, Aug 26: The state government on the recommendations of political parties has put the installation of water meters to the households on hold fearing a voter backlash in the forthcoming elections.
The state is likely to face a series of elections. Besides the general elections next year, the state is yet to conduct its urban local bodies elections, which haven't been held since 2011 and the panchayat elections, which could not be held since 2016.
Besides the assembly elections also have to be held if the Governor dissolves the state assembly that has been kept under suspension since end of the Peoples Democratic Party-Bhartiya Janta Party government in Jammu and Kashmir.
Under these circumstances, the political parties do not want installation of water meters for fear of losing votes.
"It won't be possible to install meters ahead of polls. The ULB and panchayat elections are for grass root level political parties have suggested the government not to annoy voters," an official of Public Health Engineering Department said. "Government too agreed as suggested by these parties," the official said.
The water meter installation project is a part of the Government of India sponsored Urban Infrastructure Development in Small and Medium Towns (UIDSMT) scheme and component of Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) was supposed to be implemented in the state in a phased manner.
"We will first complete the installation of water meters to the commercial establishments. We had even purchased the meters for households but we decided to put it on the back burner and complete the installation of meters to the commercial establishments first," another official said.
The proposal for installation of water meters was to bring an end to the imprudent use of drinking water and yield revenue to the government as a significant portion of the daily consumption of water is used for non-potable purposes like gardening.
According to sources, the government was expected to roll out a project of installation of water meters to households ahead of panchayat polls.
The official said Centre has asked installation of meters to the households, but the state government was yet to decide about the proposal.
He revealed that installation of meters has been done to most registered commercial establishments including schools, colleges, offices and it will take more time for the government to complete the process.
The PHE had reportedly faced stiff resistance in several areas of the Jammu and Kashmir for installation of meters.
Presently, there are thousands of illegal water connections in the state and the department has not been able to collect the water usage charges from consumers.
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