Cantonment residents resent proposed water charges

Hyderabad: A recently published draft regulation for digging and using bore wells in Secunderabad Cantonment has stirred a wave of apprehension among residents, who may soon have to pay for extracting groundwater.

The proposed charges, delineated in the draft, aim to regulate and control the consumption of groundwater in the region.

According to the draft, residents extracting groundwater of more than 100 litres per day will incur a charge of Rs 3 per kilo litre. Commercial and industrial users extracting above 50 litres per day will have to shell out Rs 10 per kilo litre.

The rates are in accordance with the 'Guidelines to regulate and control groundwater extraction in India' issued by the Union Jal Shakti Ministry and may be subject to amendments.

While the regulations stress the importance of proper documentation, registration, and periodic checks to ensure the quality and sustainable use of groundwater, the proposed charges have raised concerns among residents and local entities.

Ravindra Sanki, general secretary of the local NGO Vikas Manch, expressed dismay, saying, "If it costs three rupees today, they will charge Rs 20 in two years, and we can do nothing about it. We already have numerous issues regarding roads, drains, and others. We don't need a new one involving something as basic as water."

Vikas Manch and several residents are to take up the issue with the Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB) and senior officials.

Sanki emphasised the importance of considering the suggestions and objections of residents, citing past instances where such inputs were ignored.

The draft, issued on December 27, invites suggestions and objections from the public, which will be considered within 30 days from the date of notice. Non-compliance with the regulations, including selling extracted groundwater without permission, can result in fines, suspension of permission, and sealing of bore wells.

Highlighting the broader perspective, "the draft not only aims to regulate charges but also the need for sustainable water management. Residents and commercial entities are mandated to undergo rainwater harvesting and comply with various regulations to promote responsible water usage within the Cantonment," said an SCB official.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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