Karnataka shows the way in privatisation of water supply

The Centre wants the similar schemes pursued in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Nagpur in a big way.

Though the Centre is aggressively pushing to privatise water supply in Bangalore city, it fails to  take off as it became politically sensitive in nature, sources in the Union Urban Development Ministry told Deccan Herald.

In Mysore City Corporation limits, Tata-owned JUSCO company has been involved in water distribution since 2007 while water networks in eight wards each in Gulbarga, Hubli and Belgaum city corporations  have been managed by Veolia, a French company.
These corporations have passed  resolutions to extend it to all areas of their respective corporation limits.

The Mangalore City Corporation and Kundapur, Udupi and Puttur municipalities have agreed to hand over the distribution network to private agencies and for which the process for inviting tender has started.

This apart, 16 municipalities of North Karnataka have already handed over water distribution to various companies.

As per the “Kannada Ganga,” a  scheme designed by the state government, drinking water supply in the entire Chitradurga and Bijapur districts will be given to private companies under a long-term contract.

There is also plan for privatisation of water in another 16 towns in North Karnataka. However, as the scheme requires a whopping Rs 3,500 crore, the government is yet to take a final call on the method to raise funds whether from World Bank or Asian Development Bank or any other Indian agencies.

Though officials in the Urban Development Ministry allayed fears that handing over private companies management would lead to privatisation of water system, activists argue that private companies driven by profit motive might deny the rights of natural resources to the common man.

Prabhakar from People’s Campaign for Right to Water, who attended the consultation meeting organised by Planning Commission in Delhi, recently said the government has been keeping the common people in the dark on this issue.

As the Planning Commission is pushing the private participation aggressively, the ministry also hopes that more states will fall in line by allowing private companies to manage the water system in urban local bodies.

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