Skip to content

Water privatization, river interlinking for India promoted at international conference

CIIThe Confederation of Indian Industry is calling for more public-private partnerships to operate water utilities, set up desalination plants, and even harvest rainwater in India.

The Economic Times reports Mukund Vasudevan, CII executive member of the national water committee, made this call at the Singapore International Water Week yesterday. The article notes, “He said CII is talking to various states on the PPP schemes, and there was more and more acceptance to outsourcing water services than before.”

“Vasudevan also called for tiered water pricing across the country. ‘If you manage pricing, you will automatically manage water supply’, he said, adding: ‘We are working with the government on how to create structure pricing’. The pricing structure should cover all — industries, agriculture and consumers, even those below poverty line.”

Water privatization is being challenged in India, you can read about one of those struggles in Water privatization rejected in Kerala, India. Privatized water has also been controversial in Nagpur where private water operator Orange City Water Private Ltd. (a joint venture of Veolia Water India Pvt. Ltd, the World Leader in Water Business and Vishwaraj Infrastructure Ltd.) couldn’t account for the loss of two-thirds of the water supply. Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow recently commented, “Water privatization is failing Indian cities.”

Vasudevan also supports the controversial plan for river-linking. The article notes, “One good national project has been the connecting of rivers but that 50-year-old scheme has been slowed by politics and differences between different states, he pointed out.”

New Delhi-based Blue Planet Project organizer Madhuresh Kumar has written about river-linking in A Disasterous Prescription: Interlinking of Rivers Revived Again and more recently in Water and Politics : Narmada Kshipra River Link in Madhya Pradesh. Before the recent elections in India, the BJP-led Madhya Pradesh government approved the first ever river-linking project in India. The Narmada-Kshipra project connected Narmada river and the Kshipra river through a 49 kilometre pipeline.Additional phases of this project will connect the Ganga river to the Gambhir, Kalisindh, and Parvati rivers.