Govt privatising water supply to conceal incompetence, says mayor
North Delhi Municipal Corporation on Friday came out against the Delhi government plans to privatise water supply and demanded that this responsibility should instead be handed back to municipal authorities.
North Delhi mayor Meera Agrawal alleged that the planned move was meant to conceal ‘incompetence.’ The Delhi government recently confirmed its intention to involve private companies in the distribution of water. Opposing any such move, she said civic bodies can ensure proper management.
“Now, Delhi government feels that water supply should be privatised. It means that the government itself is unable to manage water distribution properly,” she said.
“Just to conceal its incompetence, water distribution is being privatised,” Agrawal said.
The mayor said she has written to Lieutenant Governor Tejendra Khanna, demanding that water supply be transferred back to the newly-created three municipal bodies in accordance with the 74th Constitutional Amendment, which speaks of giving more power to local bodies.
Aggarwal said the government took over the Delhi Jal Board in 1998 on the assumption that the MCD could not manage water supply properly. Coincidentally, the decision was taken by the Bharatiya Janata Party government led by Sahib Singh Verma.
However, the mayor evaded questions on whether she was holding her own party’s former chief minister responsible for the alleged wrong decision. “The functioning of the DJB has only deteriorated over the last decade,” she said.
The mayor’s letter comes in the backdrop of chief minister Sheila Dikshit saying privatisation is necessary in the water distribution sector, similar to the power sector in the city.
Agrawal said if water distribution is privatised, then sewage management will also go into private hands as both are integrated.
Opposition leaders in municipal bodies have charged that civic agencies seem to be lagging behind schedule in desilting and sanitation work.
“With pre-monsoon showers already arriving in Delhi and the monsoon rains about to reach the Capital any time, only 40 percent of desilting work has been completed so far,” said Mukesh Goel, leader of opposition in North Delhi Municipal Corporation.
The three newly-formed civic bodies in the Capital missed the June 15 and June 30 deadlines set by Dikshit to desilt storm water drains to avoid waterlogging.
The south corporation has 1,464 drains to clean, while the north has 1,638 and the east over 1,000 drains.