[mpisgmedia] 24x7 pipedream

They tried this in Bangalore in low-income colonies. Cough up 10,000 rupees per household towards capital costs, and we give you 24x7. We form you into neighbourhood groups and give you bulk supply, you work out consumption and cost-sharing ("social capital" in Bank jargon). No thanks, said poor folks, we leave our homes 7AM and come back 7PM. That takes care of 12 hours. We like to sleep 8 hours (possible in cool environs of Bangalore for all income groups year-round, no City-wide Thermostat invented yet). That leaves 4 hours. You give us 2 hours, and household metering, and reduce capital cost to 1-2000. We like our neighbourhood peace, our social capital. No way, growled friendly neighbourhood Bankers and Bangalore Water Supply Board. Take it or leave it by such-and-such date. Capital cost contributions go up by 2000 per defaulted month or part thereof. And your public standposts are going to disappear soon. Impasse. Cut to Delhi. Enough of this "Making Services Work for P
oor People" (World Development Report 2004) rubbish. Let's try a different tack. Delhi is the great Electric Reformer. Where contractors run away with collections and unauthorised colonies are collectively punished with power cuts. Where grubby youths from power companies wander around upmarket colonies and collect bribes house-to-house, in houses where 3 ACs run 24x7 (or when there is power, whichever is less), and the bill is Rs. 150. The Great Reformer will now increase efficiency by controlling water leakages....

World Bank recipe for water 24x7- Parched Delhi to rope in private players

AYSWARIA VENUGOPAL, The Telegraph, Sept 29

New Delhi, Sept. 28: Sheila Dikshit’s government has decided to privatise distribution of water in the capital on the advice of the World Bank.

The chief minister announced after a Delhi Jal Board meeting that distribution in two zones in south Delhi — South II and III — would be handed over to two private companies for five years. Global tenders are likely to be floated for the scheme that Dikshit describes as “24x7”.
South Delhi neighbourhoods like Vasant Vihar, C.R. Park, Greater Kailash, Okhla, Vasant Kunj, Mehrauli, Kalkaji, Lajpat Nagar, Hauz Khas and South Extension long used to dry taps will come under the pilot project. These areas are the worst hit by water scarcity and residents depend on ground water and private water tankers, for which they pay Rs 50 to Rs 100 every day.

The scheme was proposed by World Bank consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers in the report Delhi Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Vision prepared in connection with a Rs 1,640-crore loan Delhi Jal Board has sought for water sector reforms.

It sets a timetable of targets, from 2005 end to 2015, by when regular water supply is expected across the capital. The scheme suggests turning the board into a corporate entity and commencing 24x7 operations in a pilot area for at least five to 10 per cent of connections by the end of 2005.

The capital requires 800 million gallons of water a day while the supply is around 650 million gallons, of which about 45 per cent is lost during distribution as a result of leakages or theft.
Dikshit’s dream scheme, which promises water 24 hours a day seven days a week, will come for a price. Since the report stresses on full cost recovery, water tariff is expected to rise in south Delhi, making this the first time that differential tariff will be put in place. Consultants from DHV Netherland have been hired to suggest financial reforms in the board.

Increase in water tariff is a longstanding demand of the Jal Board — the rates were last revised six years ago. But the Delhi government has avoided it, fearing a political backlash. By increasing the tariff in south Delhi alone initially, it could restrict the problem to an area.
Subsequently, the water regulator that the Delhi cabinet has decided to set up would revise the rates.

Additional CEO of DElhi Jal Board Ashish Kundra said: “The 24X7 water supply project will actualise only in the later part of the next year. Feasibility studies are going on. This is because this project involves large-scale rehabilitation of pipelines which have become damaged over the years.”

However, critics said once the 140 MGD Sonia Vihar Water Treatment Plant becomes operational in March 2005, the water supply to south Delhi would increase automatically and there would be no need for the 24x7 scheme. This plant, which will commence its trial run by the end of this year, will supply water from the Tehri dam.

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