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NEWS: Pani Haq Samiti debate on India’s proposed National Water Policy

BPP organizer Madhuresh Kumar

BPP organizer Madhuresh Kumar

The Times of India reports, “Water should be treated as a public good and not as an economic one. This was the dominant point in a public debate organized by the Pani Haq Samiti on the National Water Policy, 2012, floated by the ministry of water resources.”

“The draft copy of the policy has been made public for further recommendations. Experts debating on the draft said right to water and sanitation to citizens needs to be broadly defined in the policy to include it as a basic human right of all the residents irrespective of their citizenship status or legality of stay. Water pricing, however, has been the bone of contention. According to the policy, there should be a mechanism in every state to establish a water tariff system, whereby the water charges would reflect the full recovery of the cost of administration and maintenance of water resources projects. ‘Water should never be treated as an economic good which is in contradiction with the public trust doctrine,” said Sitaram Shelar, convenor, Pani Haq Samiti.”

“According to Pani Haq Samiti, the present draft lacks an instrument to prioritize water allocation which will result in diverting water towards industrial uses, denying access to drinking water and irrigation. The body will appeal to the ministry to extend the time for discussing the policy draft. ‘The government should also translate the policy in other regional languages,’ added Shelar.”

To read New Delhi-based Blue Planet Project organizer Madhuresh Kumar’s recent blogs on the National Water Policy, please go to http://canadians.org/blog/?author=17.