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Activists oppose water privatisation

delhi Updated: Aug 16, 2012 23:58 IST
Nivedita Khandekar
Nivedita Khandekar
Hindustan Times
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Several grass root level organisations, those under trade unions, think tank activists and intellectuals joined hands on Thursday to gear up against the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) proposed public-private-partnership (PPP) model.

Activists from various organisations attended a meeting called by the Water Privatisation-Commercialisation Resistance Committee to bring everybody on board on the issue. Justice (retd) Rajinder Sachar is the patron of the committee.

The DJB has embarked on pilot projects in three areas — Malviya Nagar, Mehrauli and Vasant Vihar — to provide water 24X7 through the PPP model. The attempt is already facing a lot of resistance through various quarters.

Suggestions were sought from the participants on a draft letter to be sent to Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.

"The right of water is the bedrock of the right to life, and, therefore, it is the fundamental duty of the government to manage water service," the letter, protesting the efforts of privatisation, said.

Jyoti Sharma from NGO Force said the DJB has been maintaining that there is 51% non-revenue water due to physical losses through leaks and monetary losses through free stand posts and/or unauthorised connections.

"However, the DJB has never clarified how much is each one's share. It is trying to give an impression that privatisation will make this 51% available again," Sharma said.

Dunu Roy from Hazard Centre said attention should also be drawn to a World Bank report, which shows that PPP model has failed in the water sector globally.

The letter would be sent to the chief minister this week, said Deepak Dholakia, general secretary of the committee, adding, "Starting next week, we are also planning mobilisation meetings in various parts of the city."

These meetings will include street plays and screening of documentary films depicting the ills of privatisation. The meeting also decided to reach out to the main stakeholder, the citizens - both in slum clusters and planned colonies through resident welfare associations (RWAs).