Pune, 11th January 2024: The Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) ambitious project to install water meters under the Equal Water Supply Scheme is facing significant challenges, with only a fraction of the targeted meters being installed daily. The PMC had set a deadline of March 31, 2024, to complete the installation of 2 lakh 86 thousand water meters across the city, but the slow progress has raised concerns.
Despite appointing 10 teams in recent months to install 400 to 500 meters per day, the actual installation rate has been hindered by strong opposition from citizens. The current pace stands at a mere 40 to 50 meters per day, prompting questions about how the PMC plans to install the remaining 1 lakh 48 thousand meters in the next three months. At this rate, completing the task within the deadline seems unlikely, potentially extending the project timeline by an additional two years.
The Equal Water Supply Scheme, a substantial initiative costing around 2500 crore rupees, aims to install water meters in individual properties and societies across Pune. The scheme, with the objective of equitable water distribution, has encountered hurdles ranging from a shortage of manpower to public resistance and a lack of available meters.
In a recent review meeting, the PMC Commissioner expressed dissatisfaction with the slow pace of meter installations. There were suggestions to involve the police to ensure compliance, but the Water Supply Department clarified that police assistance was unavailable. Subsequently, the PMC instructed the deployment of 10 personnel from the Maharashtra Security Force, with the rank of appointed police, to expedite the installation process.
Citizen opposition to the installation of water meters has been a recurring challenge. The PMC Commissioner’s directive to involve the police or security personnel reflects the seriousness of the situation. The Water Supply Department has sought support from the Encroachment Department for personnel, but as of now, no security guards have been provided, raising concerns about the efficacy of the Commissioner’s orders.
Nandkishore Jagtap, Head of the PMC’s Water Supply Department, stated, “Citizens are opposing the installation of water meters. Accordingly, according to the instructions of the Commissioner, the security department has been requisitioned for staff. After getting these employees, the work will speed up.”