The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government's scheme of providing 20,000 litres of water each month free of cost to every household in the national capital is being misused by several housing societies, a monitoring committee has told the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
The committee led by a former high court judge told a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel that after availing 20,000 litres free of cost, these societies start extracting groundwater.
"The extraction of groundwater by using tube-wells/bore-wells is being done to avoid payment of water tariff. The Delhi Jal Board (DJB) should take effective steps to prevent this practice," the panel has told the NGT.
Earlier this year, the AAP government had told the Delhi Assembly that around 20,000 litres of free water each month was provided across the national capital by using nearly Rs 400 crore, benefitting 5.3 lakh consumers through the water subsidy scheme.
In contrast to the committee's finding, the AAP government had also said that the scheme also led to an increase in water conservation as consumers reduced consumption to avail benefit of the scheme and also led to increase in number of functional water meters.
The committee, which submitted its report in NGT, is headed by Justice SP Garg (retd) and also comprises representative each from the DJB, Central Pollution Control Board, Central Ground Water Authority and the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) concerned.
The panel has also recommended that to prevent wastage and misuse of water, "polluter pays" principle should to be used for those who violate various provisions of air and water Acts.
"The monitoring committee is of the considered view that for judicious use of water and to prevent its wastage, at the time of sanction of water connection, on the analogy of electricity connection, the consumer should be asked to declare probable consumption of water," the report filed by the panel said.
"In case water consumption is highly excessive, the consumer should be charged with higher tariffs for overuse. 'Use More - Pay More' and 'More the Consumption - Higher the Tariff' principle should be adopted to discourage wastage. There should be efficient and adequate metering of the water consumed," the report said.