'Govt will never privatise water'

water woes: Dalit Sangharsha Samiti activists have a heated argument with BWSSB Minister Suresh Kumar during a protest against privatisation of water supply in Bangalore on Monday. dh photo

After receiving memorandums from two different groups of protesters – the fringe political parties and the People’s Campaign for Right to Water, he said the government would “never” consider privatisation of water supply.

However, he said, the public-private-partnership would be considered to ensure quality water supply.

In the memorandum, a section of NGOs  drew his attention to the State Policy on Water’ which tacitly ‘encouraged privatisation.’ He promised them that a meeting would be convened to discuss the issue with all the stakeholders.

Protests

Members of political parties and non-governmental organisations (NGO) took out massive rallies protesting against the American water trade delegation, which is on a visit to the City. They held separate rallies, mobilising people against ‘violation of the basic right to have community ownership over water’.

The Peoples’ Campaign for Right to Water, a joint campaign by the City’s NGOs fighting the privatisation of water supply, took out a rally from the BWSSB head office near Mysore Bank Circle.

The rally culminated near the JD(S) office where they met the minister on his way to the Vidhana Soudha and submitted a memorandum.

Earlier, Suresh Kumar met the leaders of protesting political parties, including CPI, CPM and TUF, and promised that the US Water Trade Mission would not be entertained by the government.

He said: “We never invited them. We won’t speak to them. Even the BWSSB has been given directions not to talk anything pertaining to privatisation of water supply.”

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