|Pani panchayat or a
recipe for chaos?
It SEEMS former L-G Tejinder Khanna's 'Traffic Warden' scheme was
not enough! The Delhi Jal Board, conveniently forgetting the futility
of the 'warden' schemes of the past, is all set to start a 'Water
Warden' project in the Capital.
In its latest attempt to 'water down' the sufferings of the summer
months, the Delhi Jal Board has invited "socially-conscious
residents" to complain against their neighbours if they see
them misusing or wasting, water.
"Any person can sign up on a totally voluntary basis. He then
will be expected to lodge complaints against people in his locality
who are wasting water. The DJB engineers would visit the spot and
take appropriate action. The best warden in the Capital would then
be honoured with the "Water Saviour" Award," informed
DJB Chief Executive Officer Mr PK Tripathi.
Such a scheme, senior officials feel, was necessary. "It is
in the hands of the residents to save water, and there is very little
the DJB can do about it. If there is ten per cent saving of water
this summer, Delhi would be rid of its water problems," said
Perhaps indicating that the socalled "Water Wardens' would
also check how many times a day their neighbours take a bath, the
CEO quipped, "Ab hamare desh mein nahane ki pratha bhi to
hai," he quipped. This is not the first time such a 'citizen-centric'
scheme has been adopted in the Capital. In 1997 Mr Tejinder Khanna
had launched the "Traffic Warden' scheme in which "senior
citizens" of' the Capital were chosen as wardens and were expected
to educate people about traffic laws. To make these wardens stand
out from all and sundry, special dresses were designed by noted
fashion designer Ritu Beri.
The scheme, despite the hoopla around it, flopped miserably and
in no time these traffic wardens became a law unto them-selves,
putting huge stickers on their cars and merrily jumping red-lights.
Their overzealousness in 'controlling' traffic led to the scheme's
early demise. The DJB admitted there is very little it can do about
the water scarcity in the Capital, "Delhi population goes up
by more than five lakh people annually. The sources of water are
limited, so can we give 24-hour water connections to all?"
asked Mr Tripathi.
With the 'Water Saviour' carrot in sight, the DJB expects many
people to be a part of this venture. "We will soon come out
with advertisements to this effect," Mr Tripathi said. Common
people, however, have not been very enthusiastic about the proposed
scheme. Most people think this venture will lead to petty fights
in the neighbourhood, more than anything else. "We are a family
of eight. How can anyone else decide how much water I am using or
wasting?" said Ms Anuradha Sharma, a resident of Vasant Vihar.
She also wanted to know if the 'Water Warden' would pay a compensation
if his claims were found to be wrong. So before you misuse or waste
that elusive drop, beware... a 'Water Warden' may be watching you.