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Business News/ News / India/  Delhi LG hits out at Arvind Kejriwal on water scarcity issue: ‘….thousands of crores into a leaking bucket’
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Delhi LG hits out at Arvind Kejriwal on water scarcity issue: ‘….thousands of crores into a leaking bucket’

Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena addresses water scarcity in poor areas of Delhi, citing a decade-long exacerbation. He criticizes Water Resources Minister Atishi for exploiting a woman's death in Shahdara for political gain.

Delhi LG hits out at Arvind Kejriwal on water scarcity issue (HT_PRINT)Premium
Delhi LG hits out at Arvind Kejriwal on water scarcity issue (HT_PRINT)

In an open letter to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday, Delhi lieutenant governor Vinai Kumar Saxena flagged the water scarcity issue in poor areas in Delhi calling it ‘exacerbated over the last decade’.

He also hit out at  water resources minister Atishi, accusing her of using the killing of a woman in East Delhi's Shahdara, for ‘narrow and partisan political goals.' 

Read the full later here: 

LG in the letter stated, “Having underlined the inadequate supply of water as the cause behind the incident, Atishi has ironically indicted her own government of more than 09 years.  Her note indeed is a prima facie admission of guilt, inaction and inefficiency over the past almost 10 years"

“This unfortunate incident is not the only such case of its kind in context of Delhi, but many such incidents over water scarcity, have happened in the past primarily due to the failure of the Government"

Such instances have become a recurrent phenomenon year after year and have been widely reported in Media over the last ten years. I am enclosing a snapshot of some news clippings, starting 2017 for illustration. Water woes in the Capital, especially in settlements where the poor live, have exacerbated over the last decade, the letter further stated. 

“It is important to share the true picture of water availability with the citizens of Delhi. The Economic Survey 2023-24, tabled by your Finance Minister in the recent Budget Session of the Delhi Assembly brings out some startling facts. Over the last decade, water treatment capacity grew marginally from 906 MGD to 946 MGD, barely 4.4 percent increase. During the same period, the population of the city has grown significantly by 15 percent.  The overall shortfall in water supply amounts to about 290 MGD.  Of the total water being supplied, 120 MGD comes from groundwater extraction, which is also a gross exaggeration. I am sure that you are aware that of the sixteen Ranney wells, five are non-functional. Similarly, a large number of tubewells are also dysfunctional."

  The LG also pointed out, “The percentage of “unaccounted for water" i.e. a sum of water leakages by way of transmission & distribution losses, water theft and non-payment of dues, saw a sharp increase from 45 percent in 2015 to 58 percent in 2022-2023. By implication, in 2015, of the 906 MGD of water treated, only 498 MGD was accounted for. In 2022-23, of the 946 MGD treated, barely 397 MGD are accounted for. Accordingly, over the last decade, net water availability has decreased by more than 100 MGD due to the criminal neglect by your Government."

“Of the about 2.5 crore people in the city, more than 2 crore (over 80%) people are deprived of drinking water supply in varying degrees, especially in unauthorized colonies, slum clusters and to a lesser extent, even in organized developed colonies," the LG said and also added, “It simply points to the fact that there has been no effort whatsoever during the last ten years for plugging the leaks and we seem to be spending thousands of crores in pumping water into a leaking bucket"

In the last 09 years i.e. since 2015, Rs. 28,400 Cr. has been spent as Capital Expenditure by DJB. However, according to the Economic Survey 2023-24, over the last decade, water treatment capacity has grown marginally from 906 MGD to 946 MGD, barely 4.4 percent increase, the letter also said. 

“During the same period, the population of the city has grown significantly by 15 percent.  The overall shortfall in water supply amounts to about 290 MGD. The percentage of “unaccounted for water" i.e. a sum of water leakages by way of transmission & distribution losses, water theft and non-payment of dues, saw a sharp increase from 45 percent in 2015 to 58 percent in 2022-2023."

Comparatively, in Singapore, “unaccounted for water" is just 5 percent, compared to Delhi’s 58 percent. Even other Indian cities fare much better than Delhi - Chennai (35 percent), Mumbai (27 percent), Pune (35 percent).

In 2015, of the 906 MGD of water treated, only 498 MGD was accounted for. In 2022-23, of the 946 MGD treated, barely 397 MGD are accounted for. 

“Accordingly, over the last decade, net water availability has decreased by more than 100 MGD due to the criminal neglect by AAP Government. The flow meters which were procured for more than 250 crores, have completely failed to plug water leakages," the LG said. 

“The rich in the city staying in affluent colonies have round the clock water supply and get as high as 500 litre per person per day- which translates to nearly 35 buckets of water per person per day. In unauthorized colonies and slums, water availability is less than 50 litre per person per day. Many of these settlements receive water supply for barely half an hour a day. In some cases, water is supplied on alternate days," he added. 

In Delhi, 7 percent of households - an average of 20 lakh people, still do not receive piped water supply. The accumulated loan and interest liability of DJB stands at a staggering 73,000 crores, the letter concluded.

 

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Published: 16 Apr 2024, 07:40 PM IST
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