Mumbai: Mumbai slum dwellers on Saturday opposed the Bombay Municipal Corporation’s proposal to implement prepaid water meters all across Mumbai slums in a bid to reduce water theft.
The slum inhabitants fear that prepaid meters will increase water charges.
“We get water for four hours per day anyway. They are planning to give prepaid meter to a private company. That means the price will definitely increase. Slum dwellers will not be able to bear the cost of water,” says a slum resident Surekha Khambate.
The prepaid water meters, part of the Sujal Mumbai Mission, aim to provide water supply across slums through water cards at the rate of Rs 2.25 per 1000 litres to curb the rising number of cases of water theft. However, the activists believe that the system is undemocratic.
"This prepaid meter water technology seems to have a strong element of control over access to water and we don’t want that," asserts Convenor Paani Hakk Abhiyaann, Afsar Jaffri.
For civic authorities, the implementation of prepaid water meters is a solution to water thefts and illegal water connections across Mumbai slums, but the debate over privatisation of this basic amenity of water supply seems far from over
With politics of water fuelling the debate further, civic corporators are losing no opportunity to push forth their agendas.
"It is a policy whereby all residents of Mumbai can go to the corporation, buy a card and take water as per her requirements and pay for that. Meters will ensure that and discourage water mafia,” says a Congress corporator Samir Desai.