Urban service benchmark

City dwellers have enough reasons to cheer about. The Centre has issued an advisory to all states to follow a service-level benchmark in those cities which have been receiving funds from the Centre or multilateral organisations.The ministry of urban development had earlier prepared a benchmark in four services -- water supply, sewerage, solid waste management and storm water drainage.If the service level benchmark is strictly followed by the city administrations, the quality of life in urban India will improve dramatically. The implementation of the service-level benchmark will make India's city dwellers happy as they have already been suffering from water shortage, inefficient collection of municipal solid wastes, incidence of water logging and inefficient grievance redressal mechanism.Urban development ministry officials said that adhering to these benchmark could be made compulsory only if a state makes a law towards that, or the Centre ties it up as a condition for cities to receive grants or soft loans.According to the newly-formulated benchmark, water supply coverage and metering of water connection must be 100%, with a per capita availability of water at 135 lpcd (litres per capita daily). Also, water supply has to be 24X7. Similarly, there are 10 such indicators in sewerage benchmark itself which includes a 20% re-use of treated water, and 80% efficiency in redressal of customer complaints. The benchmark further insists on no incidence of water logging and 100% coverage of storm water drainage. When contacted, urban development secretary M Ramachandran said that a letter was sent to all chief secretaries in this regard. "At present, it's just an advisory. But it will depend on the people to ensure that a particular city administration is adhering to the benchmark. If any state makes a law regarding it, citizens then could even take legal actions if these benchmarks are not adhered to," he said.

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