Govt not favouring pvt players: DJB

Rubbishes citizen groups allegations

Delhi Jal Board on Thursday rubbished claims by citizen groups that the government was bent upon favouring private players.

The DJB said the terms of its agreement had been “grossly misunderstood and misrepresented” by saying that it is trying to benefit private operators by supplying them cheaper water than its landed cost, allowing a 10 per cent increase in tariff or permitting a service charge.

In a statement, it assured that consumers will continue to pay as per the existing tariff, and “no additional amount shall be charged for improved water supply services.”

Citizen groups have been raising concerns over the manner in which `privatisation' of water was initiated, alleging that the Nangloi public private partnership project has been overpriced when compared to the same plant in Patna.

Retired Justice Rajinder Sachar wrote to to chief minister Sheila Dikshit on Thursday, questioning the rationale behind the move.

DJB clarified that private operators are only authorised to collect water charges on behalf of the board and make its work easier in terms of equal distribution.

“Thus the revenue collected from consumers will continue to be DJB’s revenue. The operator is not entitled to accept/receive any payment in its name from any consumer for offering any services within the project area,” the statement said.

In response to allegations that private players will seek to make additional money by only supplying continuous water in demand-prone areas, DJB said if water is diverted, the  operators will be penalised.

The agency has also responded to questions raised by Justice Sachar and other citizen groups on the process of selecting the private firms.

DJB said it carried out an “integrated bidding process” where the firms were judged on their technical and financial capacity before the  selection.

Bids were placed on a government website in a transparent manner, DJB said. DJB is also in the process of setting up a committee comprising representatives of Delhi Jal Board, residents' welfare associations, operators and local elected representatives to monitor performance and safeguard consumer interest.

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