The Delhi Jal Board (DJB)'s decision to revamp water supply in areas fed by the Nangloi water treatment plant under the public private partnership (PPP) model has come under severe criticism.
Two organisations, the Citizens Front for Water Democracy (CFWD) and Water Workers Alliance (WWA), have alleged "the project was designed and estimated at a higher cost to extend financial benefits to private parties".
In a letter to DJB CEO Debashree Mukherjee, the two organisations alleged that the water utility's projects are awarded at a price twice or four times that of similar schemes allotted in any other part of India.
"Through comparison of documents, we found that capital cost of the Patna water supply project is only Rs 476.94 crore. It includes comparable works to that of Nangloi, for which the capital cost is Rs 652.32 crore. The operations and maintenance (O&M) cost for Patna for 11 years is Rs 548.83 crore while that for Nangloi is working out to Rs 1552.32 crore for 14 years," SA Naqvi from the CFWD alleged in the letter.
Himanshu Thakkar, a water expert, said, "Nangloi will have a greater population density and hence the pipeline network would be smaller. Staff and labour charges in Delhi can be higher but taxes in general are lower. All said and done, the difference (between Patna and Delhi) can be no more than 20%."
The DJB CEO rubbished the comparison and said work was being carried out according to Delhi Schedule of Rates (CPWD's standard guidelines for government work), a claim contested by the Front.