Justice Sachar alleges pvt water companies getting undue benefits


Nivedita Khandekar, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 12, 2013

Continuing his attack on ‘privatisation’ of water supply in Delhi, Justice (retired) Rajinder Sachar has questioned the role of Delhi Jal Board (DJB) in such policy decisions. He has also alleged that private companies were being given undue benefit in the name of 24×7 water supply programmes under public private participation (PPP) model.

A patron of water privatisation and commercialisation resistance committee, Justice Sachar had first written to Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in November, raising pertinent issues vis-à-vis privatisation attempts by the DJB. However, instead of Dikshit, he received a reply from Jal board’s CEO Debashree Mukherjee. “Bureaucrats are not in the position to respond to constitutional and policy matters raised by me in the earlier letter,” Sachar has pointed out to Dikshit in another letter sent this week.

The DJB had in 2012 launched three pilot programmes for 24×7 water supply under the PPP model to improve the water distribution system in Malviya Nagar, Nangloi, Vasant Vihar and Mehrauli.

Sachar has pointed out that the DJB has referred to reduction of the non-revenue water (NRW) but the contract agreement signed by the Nangloi project shows that the private operator will not be required to reduce NRW for the first four years.

“This shows that the NRW is not an issue except for justifying privatisation,” he alleged.

Sachar also called for an independent tribunal, which will decide on the water tariffs and the changes required in them, with full public participation. “Despite an automatic 10 % hike incorporated in the cycle, the DJB has failed to guarantee that there would be no mid-term revision,” he alleged.

After the CM’s instructions, DJB has not affected its annual 10 % hike in tariff applicable from January 1. “We reassessed that the privatisation of water services will have serious ramifications for the people. I have drawn your attention to the latest anti-privatisation trends in the world (and), would like you to directly deal with the issue,” Sachar has appealed to the CM.

Despite repeated attempts, the CM remained unavailable for comments.

 

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