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Free drinking water supply scheme in the city will only benefit landowners, not their tenants. This is owing to Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board decision to link Aadhaar numbers to Customer Account Numbers (CANs) and weed out beneficiaries owning multiple houses in the city.

As a result, consumers residing in rented houses will be unable to avail of the offer. For people living in apartments, the board will consider individual occupancy certificates of flats. Flat owners will have to fix water meters at their own cost.

According to highly placed sources in the Water Board, the free drinking water facility can be availed only by houseowners. If a person owns more than one house, free drinking water will be available only to the specific house s/he is staying in.

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Once the Aadhaar is linked to CAN, the software will match names of all family members and make them ineligible to get free drinking water.

Preliminary estimates by the HMWS&SB reveal that of about 24 lakh families residing in the city, only six lakh consumers can utilise the scheme once fake beneficiaries are weeded out. The rest will be charged as per the regular water tariff. The name on the Aadhaar card and the HMWS&SB bill has to be the same for individual houses and domestic houses in slums.

With regard to buildings managed by societies and resident welfare associations (RWAs), a consumer can procure a letter from the society or RWA authorising the registration of Aadhaar number of the nominated person (a member of the society / RWA) against their CAN. As Aadhaar authentication and meter fixing is expected to take time, bills will continue to be issued to those eligible under the scheme from April 1.

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Official data prepared by the HMWS&SB reveals that 1.96 lakh consumers residing in the city slums do not have meters. They will continue to get free drinking water. Consumers will benefit to a total extent of Rs 4.78 crore per month. However, for the facility, the 7.87 individual domestic consumers will have to fix 2.2 lakh water meters, which would save them Rs 6.91 crore a month.

According to the Water Board details, 24,967 domestic apartments and bulk connections have to fix 17,192 meters for saving Rs 8.23 crore per month. Overall 10.08 lakh consumers have to fix 2.37 lakh meters within the GHMC limits, which will help them save overall Rs 19.92 crore a month in water bills.

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Individual domestic consumers will have to bear the cost of fixing water meters installed for availing free 20 kilolitres of water. Consumption above 20 kilolitres will be charged as per applicable tariff with effect from December 2020. Somestic apartments (multi-storied apartment complexes) and domestic bulk consumers will have to bear the cost of installing their meters. The board will indicate shortly to consumers parameters required within the water meter that is to be fixed at their own cost. #KhabarLive #hydnews

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