New Delhi, Jul 3: The Delhi Government is planning to privatise the water distribution system, a move which may lead to increase in rates and add to the woes of Delhiites already burdened with a steep hike in power tariffs.
“It (privatisation) is necessary in the water distribution sector. We want to replicate the same model for water distribution sector that we adopted in the power sector,” said the Chief Minister, Ms Sheila Dikshit, when asked whether her Government had decided to privatise the water sector.
The Chief Minister had been pushing for initiating “reforms” in water sector, arguing that private entities must be involved to improve water distribution and that people must be made to “pay for every drop” of water they use so that they know the value of the scarce resource.
Senior officials admit involving the private sector may result in a rise in water tariff.
Senior BJP leader, Mr V.K Malhotra warned the Government against privatising the water sector, alleging it is being initiated to benefit the “vested interests”.
“There seems to be a method in madness in this move. Because it is blatantly meant to help the water mafia and their supporters. They will not only hike the charges but will also systematically grab land worth hundreds of crores belonging to DJB,” said Malhotra.
The city government had last year initiated “reforms” in the water sector by opening doors for private entities in management, maintenance and distribution of water in several areas of the city on a pilot basis.
A board meeting of Delhi Jal Board (DJB), chaired by Dikshit, had in November last year decided to involve private sector in water distribution, management and maintenance of DJB's infrastructure in Malviya Nagar, Vasant Vihar and Nangloi areas in public-private partnership mode.
Officials said government may now go for involving the private sector in water distribution in more areas.
The city has been grappling with severe water shortage mainly due to huge gap in demand and supply leakage in Delhi Jal Board's water distribution network.
The current average demand of potable water in the city is around 1,100 mgd (million gallons per day) and currently Delhi Jal Board supplies around 800 mgd water across the city after treating raw water in its treatment plants.