Skip to main content

Water supply privatization: Madhya Pradesh govt forced to step back ahead of local polls; but doubts exist

BJP poster promising no privatization of water
By Our Representative
In a clear example of why privatisation of a basic service such as water supply is not an easy option, the Madhya Pradesh government has been forced to take a step backward from its ambitious plan to privatize water supply in different towns and cities of the state, with a top NGO claiming credit for the success. The voluntary organization working in Badwani, Madhya Pradesh, Manthan Adhyayan Kendra, which has been in the forefront of advocacy against water privatization, has suggested in a statement, things reached a flashpoint only during the municipal elections held in November 2014.
Privatisation of water supply has been a buzzword in several states, including "progressive" Gujarat, but has not picked up anywhere. In Madhya Pradesh, where the government took a step towards it in some towns, things turned out to be extremely difficult. “The main election issue during the campaign was the private water supply project. It was also part of the local manifesto during the campaign”, said Manthan, citing the banners put up by political parties in Khandwa town disowning privatization of water.
In fact, things came to such a pass, Manthan said, that during the election campaign state chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan had to announce publicly that water services would not be privatized and connections would not be metered.
http://www.manthan-india.org/IMG/pdf/Khandwa_book_FINAL.pdf
Manthan report on
water privatization 
However, the NGO, which issued its statement a week after the election results for the state’s civic bodies were announced on December 4, in which the BJP romped home with thumping majority, suggested the turnaround is still not complete. “Such announcements have been done earlier as well but with any action”, it said, adding, there have been announcements by BJP earlier, too, there is no guarantee that announcement by the Chief Minister would be implemented and "water services would not be privatized".
Manthan said, already, municipal water services have been handed over to private water companies across various towns in Madhya Pradesh, and matter became particularly controversial in Khandwa town, which was the focus area of the NGO’s study on water privatization (click HERE to download).
Manthan said, the project is being implemented in Khandwa under the Central government scheme Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns (UIDSSMT), and under the project, the construction, operation and maintenance contract for 25 years has been awarded to Vishwa Infrastructure and Services Pvt. Ltd, a Hyderabad-based company. The private operator have even taken a loan from International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank to fund the project. All this remains intact.
Manthan said, the chief minister was forced to make a statement against privatisation because of continued opposition to the project by the local people.. “In December 2012 when the notification for the private control of water services was published, more than 60 per cent of the water supply connection holders formally wrote to the municipal corporation protesting against the private water supply project”, Manthan said.
Congress campaign against water privatization

“Eventually”, it added, “Due to public opinion the state government formed an independent committee, which included governmental and non-governmental experts along with people's representative to investigate the objections raised by the residents against the project. The committee in its report rejected "the private control of domestic water supply services and held the municipal corporation accountable for water supply to residents.”
Despite this, Mathan said, “No decision was taken by the state government in this regard." Worse, "on October 20, 2014 just before the municipal elections in the state the notification was reissued leading to local campaigns." However, as protests picked up, the state government announced that it was "cancelling the notification.”
Even the Aam Admi Party, campaigning against privatization of water during elections, announced to launch Chipko movement against “shutting down of existing water resources.” Yet, even now no formal decision has been taken about it.

Comments

TRENDING

ISKCON UK 'clarifies' after virus infects devotees, 5 die due to big temple meet

By Rajiv Shah
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), United Kingdom (UK), has admitted that at least 21 of its devotees were infected because of the spread of the coronavirus amongst the UK devotee community following the March 12 funeral and March 15 memorial of the Bhaktivedanta Manor temple president, in which about 1,000 people participated. Regretting that five of the devotees have passed away, the top Hindu religious in Britain body does not deny more may have been infected.

As corona virus 'travels' to rural areas, NGO begins training tribals, marginalised women

By Souparno Chatterjee*
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared corona virus a pandemic. Originating from Wuhan in China, it has traversed the entire globe, almost, and claimed more than 16,000 lives already. That’s largely the urban population. In India, despite all the preparedness and war-like promptness to safeguard against the pandemic, several lives have been lost , and hundreds of individuals have tested positive.

Rani Laxmi Bai, Tatya Tope 'martyred' by East India Company, Scindia's forefathers

By Our Representative
In an email alert to Counterview, well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam has said that was “shameful for any political party in democratic India to keep children of Sindhias in their flock” given their role during the First War of Indian Independence (1857). In a direct commentary on Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia moving over to BJP, Prof Islam has quote from a British gazetteer to prove his point.

COVID-19: Dalit rights bodies regret, no relief plan yet for SCs, STs, marginalized

By Our Representative
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Dalit Watch-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, endorsed* by several other Dalit rights organizations, have insisted, the Government of India should particular care of the scheduled castes and tribes, trans folks, persons with disabilities and the women and children from these communities, while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

Mallika Sarabhai releases speech she was 'not allowed' to give at NID Convocation on Feb 7

Counterview Desk
The National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, a Ministry of Commerce and Industry body, landed itself in controversy following its decision to put off its 40th convocation ceremony, where noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai was invited as chief guest. The ceremony was scheduled to be held on February 7.

Idea of fair, tall, customized baby "rooted" in Nazi Germany, RSS' Golwalkar wanted crossbreeding with Brahmins

By Our Representative
Facts have come to light suggesting that the RSS’ experiment to have “fair”, “tall” and “customized” baby has an interesting Gujarat connection: It was first reportedly floated by its topmost ideologue Guru Golwalkar way back in 1960 while giving a lecture in Gujarat University.

Coronavirus scare ‘pushing’ people from Northeast India into more hardship

By Rishiraj Sinha, Biswanath Sinha*
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela
***

Gujarat govt plan to 'banish' Gandhian activist anti-democratic, unconstitutional

By Rohit Prajapati*
The current Central and Gujarat governments, and their bureaucracy, have been and are still unable to answer and address the concerns raised, with facts, figures, and constitutional provisions, regarding the terror of tourism in the name of the Statue of Unity and tourism projects surrounding it.

Gujarat construction workers walk home as Rs 2,900 crore welfare fund lies unused

By Our Representative
Situated behind the Gujarat University, some of the families of the migrant construction workers from Dahod and Panchmahals districts of Gujarat, and a few from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, who had stayed put in make-shift shanties in Ahmedabad’s sprawling GMDC Ground, have begun a long journey, by foot, back to their home villages in the eastern tribal belt of Gujarat.