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Assembly passes Water Bill with amendment

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  15 July 2015 12:00 AM GMT

FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT

ITAGAR, July 14: The Assembly today passed the Aruchal Pradesh Water Supply Bill 2015 by voice votes in the amended form.

The Bill, tabled in the house by Public Heath Engineering & Water Supply Minister Takam Pario on July 7 last, is aimed at regulating water supply including levy of reasoble tariff on consumption of piped water supply in the state by replacing the Aruchal Pradesh Water Supply Act 2000.

Taking part in the discussion many members in the house suggested for incorporating the provision of protection of catchment areas of the water source besides review of the hiked water supply tariff.

Pario responding to various suggestions from the members said that the existing water supply Act was devoid of many provisions and the present Bill, reflecting responsibilities of the consumers would notify water sources.

He assured the house to accommodate suggestions of the members. Replying to various queries from the members, Chief Minister bam Tuki said. “There is no dearth of water in the state but to ensure supply of safe drinking water is the responsibility of the government”. He urged the members to support the Bill while announcing to reduce the charge of new water connection from proposed Rs 5000 to Rs 3000 and the monthly water charge for 1to 3 bed rooms swelling units from Rs 200 to Rs 150.

“As Aruchal Assembly is known for maintaining highest democratic system, our actions should prove it,” he added.

BJP opposition leader Tamiyo Taga participating in the discussion questioned as to why a Bill was introduced instead of amending the existing one and wondered whether the new Bill would be a magic one.

He also suggested for rain water harvesting and ban in jhum practice to protect water catchment areas by making the deputy commissioners of all the districts responsible to check such practice.

Senio BJP leader Japu Deru termed the bill as against the interest of the poor saying that the cent per cent hike in water charges would affect the common people.

Congress member Nikh Kamin stressed on revenue generation to end dependency on Centre and suggested for a separate head for water supply to check revenue leakage.

While P D So of the Congress suggested the government to adopt ‘zero tolerance’ on the department to ensure supply of safe drinking water and stressed on accountability of the department, BJP member Tage Taki suggested measuring the major water sources of the state saying they would dry up in future if the catchment areas were not protected.

Congress MLA Gabriel D Wangsu said that with the level of underground water decreasing, most of the districts in the state were facing water scarcity. He also suggested for introducing metering system for collecting water supply bills.

Urging the state government to review the hike of water tariff which would affect the poor, BJP member Dr Mohesh Chai said that water connections to encroachers in government land would amount to encouraging encroachment.

Congress MLA Honchun Ngandam suggested for budgetary provision to protect water sources. The house passed the Bill in amended form before Speaker adjourned it for the day.

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