Double water tax in Rajkot The residents will now have to pay Rs 480, as against the present charge of Rs 240. (THE TIMES OF INDIA 080302 & 090302)
Water shortage in Delhi A study by TERI claims that the water table in most parts of Delhi is falling rapidly and in many places in South Delhi it is almost bone dry. The scarce rainwater runs off without being tapped. Delhi receives approximately 1150 MCM surface water from Yamuna, Ganga and Bhakra and of this, 60 % is from Yamuna. (THE TRIBUNE 150402)
Untreated water supply for drinking The latest report of CAG of India has revealed that the drinking water supplied by some projects, started by the Ministry of Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation is not made suitable for human consumption. The main aim of the projects started in 1994, was to supply sufficient potable water to 2 151 towns below the population of 20 000. The Ministry has prepared Rs 20 B action plan. But up to March 2001, only 575 towns could be included and Rs 4.79 B has been released. According to report, water has not been tested in UP, Karnataka, Orissa, Manipur, Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra before supplying as drinking water. Report also discloses large-scale fund diversion from the schemes. (JANSATTA-D 050402)
Budgetary resources not enough? The Union Minister of State for Urban Development has stated that the water supply and sanitation problem cannot be addressed from budgetary resources. "As against the investment requirement of Rs 220 B annually as per India Infrastructure Report, the budgetary support from govt. sources are available only to the tune of Rs 50 B per annum thereby leaving a gap of nearly Rs 170 B per annum." The statement seems to have been made to push for privatisation. (PIB PR 100402)
BOTTLED WATER BUSINESS
BIS Certificate is a must As per the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules (6th amendment), 2000 no person can manufacture, sell or exhibit for sale, packaged drinking water or mineral water without the certification mark from the Bureau of Indian Standards. (THE TIMES OF INDIA 220402)
Bottled Water Business Railways plan to provide Rail Neer in trains and at platforms, bottled at its own plants, for which tenders have been invited.
Parle’s Bisleri claims over 40% share in the organised market, though it is now declining, while Kinley (launched in Aug. 2000) with 28% market share is ahead of Aquafina, which is third with 10% share. Last summer, the Bottled water category grew by 24%. Nestle (selling in India at Rs 70 per litre) is finding it tough in water business. Nestle’s Perrier brand was disallowed in India as it does not confirm to Indian standards of acidity and calcium content. Total market for bottled water in India is estimated to be over Rs 8 B. Pepsi plans to set up at least three more plants in addition to its existing five plants, investing Rs 100 M in each plant. Coca-Cola plans to set up another 10-15 plants by the end of 2002, in addition to its existing 15 plants.
Hello water claims to sell 10000 Bottles of 20 L each and Parle claims to sell 12000 bottles of 20 L each daily in Delhi, the business is growing at 25% per annum.
According to a study, after the bottled water giants entered England, water rates increased 450%, company profits zoomed 692% and the salaries of the CEOs of the these companies have gone up 708%, and finally, the dysentery has gone up 600%.
Groupe Danone, a mineral water MNC known for premium water brand Evian (the world’s biggest global mineral water brand in terms of volumes, though Nestle is first in value terms), has been given permission to set up a office in India. It is negotiating to acquire Himalayan, a natural water brand.
Mineral water plant leaves villages dry A Kinley mineral water plant at Sattupalli in Khammam district in AP is drawing 0.225 M litres of groundwater daily, drying up the water sources of the villagers. There are two Kinley bottling plants in AP, the third one is coming up. (BUSINESS STANDARD 040302, 130302, 010402, BUSINEE LINE 130302, 030402, THE TIMES OF INDIA 180302, INDIAN EXPRESS 260302, THE ECONOMIC TIMES 110402, 120402)
No check on quality of water sold in jars According to the Prevention of Food Adulteration Dept, there are over 50 brands of water being sold in jars and most of them are non-ISI. The PFA dept is the only agency to check the quality of packaged mineral water. It lifts samples of only 1,2 and 5 litre water bottles. In the last three months, 9 of the 68 samples lifted by the dept were found adulterated. According to PFA dept, samples of water being sold in over five litre unsealed jars are not tested. (HINDUSTAN TIMES-D 300402)
Trashing water is good business for water companies In Chennai, two sister companies, French multinationals Onyx and Vivendi, are working at cross-purposes. While Vivendi is in partnership with civic authorities to convert scarce fresh water from a public service to a commercial product, Onyx collects the city's garbage from three key areas and dumps it in one of the most important freshwater ecosystems in the city. The experts maintain that if what remains of the city’s vast network of tanks and natural lakes is taken care of, the city can be self-sufficient in water and even meet future needs. At a cost of Rs. 650 000, CES Onyx collects and disposes at least 1000 tonnes of garbage everyday in and around the freshwater wetlands of Pallikaranai towards south of the city. Onyx is the garbage management arm of the French MNC Vivendi, which is also the largest water company in the world. Vivendi has a special consultancy with Metrowater to help improve the management of water supply to Chennai. Municipal waste dumping in Pallikarani can have a deadly effect on water bodies. The Onyx’s source says that that the decision to dump in Perungudi/Pallikaranai was the Municipal Corporation's. In fact, Onyx is merely continuing the decade-long tradition of dumping on wetlands. Metrowater, which manages the city's sewage, discharges "treated" sewage water directly into the wetlands. Chennai Municipal Corporation is now considering handing over the city's water supply and distribution to private companies. (www.corpwatchindia.org 250302)
WB push for privatisation in Chhatisgarh The WB has agreed to provide financial assistance to the Chhattisgarh for water supply in the new capital being planned provided the management is given to private parties. (THE HINDU-D 180402, BUSINESS STANDARD 190402)
The water privatisation push The fact that 1.1 B people, mostly in the developing countries, lack access to adequate clean water is reason enough for the growing water industry to rejoice. Estimated to be worth $ 7 trillion, the global water industry has assured itself of profits at least for the next 25 years, during which time the number of people without access to potable water will move closer to 3 B mark. Water privatization is one of the many conditions that determine the extent of loans under the WB’s Country Assistance Strategy. Paraguay is the latest victim of this strategy as the Bank suspended a $ 46 M loan for not complying with the stipulated conditions attached to the loan. For accepting its pre-condition to raise water tariff by 95 % the WB had approved a similar loan of $ 110 M for Ghana in July 2001. If the recent violent protests in Bolivia and the emerging opposition in Ghana are any indication, privatisation of water is being resented by the civil society. Yet, there is no let down as govts in developing countries succumb to donor pressure for facilitating privatisation of their water utilities.
In India, already some 30 cities in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan are bidding their respective municipal water supply to handful of powerful multinational corporations specialising in water. Tirupur town in Tamil Nadu and Hubli-Dharwad in Karnataka has moved closer to privatisation of their water utilities. Delhi’s water supply will soon be in the hands of infamous Vivendi. The govt. has estimated that $ 65 B would be required in water and wastewater sector over the next decade and has urged the state govts to raise water tariffs to become eligible for credit. Interestingly, crucial decisions about water privatisation and cost recovery between donors and key govt. leaders are made behind closed doors and without the knowledge and consent of citizens. (DECCAN HERALD 100402)
Delhi Jal Board to go into private hands The Finance Minister of Delhi has announced that the Delhi Jal Board would be privatised in due coarse of time. Following advise of the WB private consultants Price Waterhouse Coopers, Netherlands based DHV and Tata Consulting Engrs were appointed in 2001 to carry out a study and suggest steps to re-structure DJB. Consultants will submit the report by Oct. 2002. The Bank also proposed that if it improves the position of DJB then Bank could give Rs 16.25 B for investment in water sector. WB has given the grant of Rs 75 M to the Delhi govt for consultancy. Some pilot projects have been started for privatisation. DJB will hike the water tariff before privatising the sector and a regulatory body is being suggested for fixing tariff. The cost of supplying 1 KL of water is Rs 0.4, whereas water rate for the same quantity is Rs. 0.035. The WB had recently dubbed the board as worse than any public utility in sub-Saharan Africa. (RASHTRIYA SAHARA 270302 & THE TIMES OF INDIA-D 250402)
WB push for privatisation criticized A National Water Parliament, called in Delhi on March 22, criticized the role played by the World Bank in using its loan conditionalities (e.g. in Delhi, UP, Orissa) to promote privatisation of water resources, violating people’s constitutional and natural water rights. (THE HINDU 230302)
War against privatisation in Bolivia In a defining struggle against globalisation, the people of Cochabamba, Bolivia took back their water from the hands of a corporate conglomerate. The WB had pressurised the Bolivian Govt. into privatising water companies in 1990. It refused credit to the public company which ran the water services, recommended to pull out public subsidies, and insisted on giving a monopoly to Aguas del Tunari, part of the British company International Water Ltd., in turn owned by the US engineering giant Bechtel. The new owners, who had been granted a 40-year concession, announced price hikes before they even began operations; in a region where the minimum wage is under $ 100 per month, people faced increases of $ 20 per month and more. Peasants now had to buy permits to collect rainwater from their own wells and roof tanks. All autonomous water systems had to be handed over without compensation. People revolted against all this. The Coordination for the defense of water and life organised the first protest in Dec. 1999 and numbers of protest later on. For two months no one paid water bills. Police fired on the crowd: hundreds of people were injured and two youths were blinded. President Banzer declared martial law on 8th April 2000. The water privatising company made an exit from the country. La Coordinadora talked with a Govt. delegation and they agreed that the water contract should be broken. The Cochabamba water revolt became an inspiring and powerful international symbol in the struggle for global economic justice. (Kashmir Times180302)
The trend of globalisation is that surplus capital is moving from the periphery countries to the centre, which is Unites States.
George Soros, International Financier (THE TIMES OF INDIA 220302)
Liberalisation and privatisation have been pursued as ends in themselves rather than as a means to attain more basic objectives of faster and equitable growth, or greater economic stability. Worse, these have been pursued even when the consequences have worked against the basic objectives.
N A Mujumdar, former principle adviser to RBI (BUSINESS LINE 060402)
It is strange that at a time when the govt. cannot find money for food-for-work programmes, it can spend crores on storage facilities.
Prof. Jean Dreze of Delhi School of Economics (OUTLOOK 040302)
The concept of self-sufficiency in foodgrains production is obsolete…
Yashwant Sinha, Union Finance Minister (BUSINESS STANDARD 250302)
94 % of the rice procurement is from Punjab, Haryana and AP while 81% of wheat is procured from Punjab, Haryana and UP. The rest of the 10 crore farmers in the country have to resort to distress sales… The pulses and oilseeds import bills have touched Rs 100 B.
Shanta Kumar, Union Food Minister (INDIAN EXPRESS 250302)
Considering that part of the food subsidy goes towards subsidizing the wheat exports to be used as cattle feed in sundry parts of the world, this scam has gone on for too long.
Editorial comment (THE ECONOMIC TIMES 040402)
Private monopolies (as planned in Delhi power distribution reforms) are patently unconstitutional; they abrogate fundamental rights and are anathema to democratic philosophy… All this will Dabholise the DVB… The manner in which huge guaranteed returns have been assured after shortlisting of bidders vitiates the entire exercise… the consumer will end up paying over 27% by way of annual return on equity during the next five years. There is hardly any competition as only three bidders are in fray for three circles… Two of the bidders have a track record of defaulting on payment to state owned entities by almost Rs 10 B each. Besides, if the Discoms reduce thefts beyond the agreed level, they can keep half the gains… Can a civilized society allow a policeman to retain 50% of the value of stolen goods recovered? This could tempt the policeman to declare an honest person a thief… this will lead to Orissa like fiasco…
Gajendra Haldea, head of the Centre for Infrastructure and Regulation, NCAER (THE TIMES OF INDIA 070302)
Inter-basin transfer of water was the only permanent solution to tackle drought and floods. [Will the minister reply if full potential of local water system has been realized in even one river basin in the country?]
Arjun Charan Sethi, Union Water Resources Minister (THE HINDU 170802)
FLOODS Plan panel for new Flood Commission The working group on flood control for the 10th five-year plan has suggested that the govt. should set up an integral flood management commission to review the progress of the flood management programme and implementation of the National Flood Commission recommendations. It has recommended a combined central and state outlay of Rs 106.32 B to protect about 2.8 M Ha in the 10th plan. (BUSINESS STANDARD-D 030402)
Sudden Releases from Tajewala creates flooding Sudden release of water into Yamuna River from the Tajewala headworks on the Haryana UP borders without prior information to the villages along the river badly affects at least 50 villages every year, destroying crops and fertile land. This year the release also affected thousands of people staying in slums along the river in Delhi as the water level in Yamuna river suddenly rose without prior information. (RASHTIRYA SAHARA 060302, 070302 TRIBUNE 080302)
Villagers oppose another bundh Residents of more than dozen villages of the Mand area of Kapurthala in Punjab have said the construction of another proposed advance bundh to be built adjoining the Dhussi bundh by the drainage department should be stopped to save their land from floods. The Deputy Commissioner directed resurvey of the proposed bundh to be constructed from Darewal Bharona village in order to save more than 1 300 Ha of land from floods. (THE TRIBUNE 040402)
400 Ha destroyed due to TPS effluent About 400 Ha of agricultural land in Panipat district in Haryana have been flooded and destroyed as drain no 3 passing nearby have been silted up by the effluent from the Tau Devi Lal Thermal Power Station since last seven years. The drain has not been desilted for many years. (TRIBUNE 180402)