SCB, GHMC at odds over water supply

HYDERABAD: The Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB) and Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) are at odds over the free water supply in the cantonment areas.

Even though the government started the free water scheme in SCB in February, many inhabitants continue to experience a severe lack of drinking water in several areas of the cantonment.

According to sources at the SCB, the government has treated the cantonment like a second-class citizen when it comes to receiving free water while giving the GHMC top priority.

The government announced 20 kilo-litre free water supply in the GHMC area in 2019, while the same scheme was implemented in SCB in 2022. The bone of contention between the SCB and GHMC seems to be the Rs. 34 crore in pending arrears. The government has been pressing the SCB to pay the pending water bills, but the SCB is hoping that the government provides a waiver.

The SCB contends that there would not have been any arrears on its part if the government had introduced the free water programme in SCB along with the the GHMC area. The officials argue that residents stopped paying their water bills in anticipation of the scheme being extended to the cantonment, which resulted in the arrears.

The SCB was able to cater to water needs of only half the residents in the cantonment. Over 60,000 residents in SCB rely on water supplied by HMWS&SB.

SCB only receives water once every four days, and even then, the water supply is erratic and sometimes polluted.

“In SCB, we require 80 lakh gallons of water, but barely receive 45 per cent of that amount. The Cantonment has improved more than 80 per cent of its water supply infrastructure. At the very least 90 gallons of water can be absorbed by us. Despite numerous petitions, the government ignores the Cantonment. When it comes to SCB-related matters, the government ignores us,” an SCB official said.

He stated that 80 per cent of water pollution has been controlled. New pipelines have been made to minimise water contamination caused by drainage water. “Only 20 per cent of new pipelines must be completed for the Cantonment's clean water supply. The government hasn’t sanctioned funds for the same,” according to J. Ramakrishna, vice-president of SCB.

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