City water supply to be privatised
Necessary to ensure constant supply: CM
Even before the cry against hike in power tariffs had died down, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Tuesday dropped another bombshell that is likely to lead to rise in water prices.
Dikshit said that privatisation of water distribution system had become necessary and the government had decided to privatise water treatment plants across the national capital. The aim was to ensure constant supply of water, even at the cost of making an absolute necessity like water a bit costlier.
“Privatisation of water distribution system is definitely necessary in Delhi. We want to replicate the same model in Delhi Jal Board (DJB) that we have used in the privatisation of power distribution,” said Dikshit, responding to media queries. She further said that the Planning Commission had also given in-principle approval to the proposal.
As per Delhi government officials, the privatisation of water distribution system in Delhi will be a gradual process and will be tested in some areas before going full throttle across the city. Two years back, the government had initiated reform in water billing and installation of meters by involving IT major TCS.
The average demand for potable water in the City is around 1,100 mgd (million gallons per day) and currently, DJB supplies around 800 mgd water across the City after treating the raw water in its treatment plants. However, 40 per cent of this water is said to be wasted away leading to acute shortage in hundreds of colonies in Delhi.
Burdening the people
Reacting to the chief minister’s statement, Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly Vijay Kumar Malhotra warned the government against the move, which he said would it would increase the burden on the people of the capital. Healleged that there seemed to be a “method in the madness” in the move since it was meant to help the “water mafia” and its supporters.
“The water mafia will not only hike the charges, but will also systematically grab the land worth hundreds of crores belonging to DJB. The decision to privatise the distribution and management of water is a betrayal of the common citizen and will lead to chaos and law and order situation,” said Malhotra, adding that party would stronlgy oppose the move.
He further advised the chief minister to seek people’s views and suggestions for improving the water supply in the capital and not to leave them at the mercy of the water mafia.