That was over an hour long discussion with a team of activists led by farmer leader Mr Kodihalli Chandrasekhar. The agitation against the rumors of privatization of water is gaining ground by each passing day for no reasons. I must have received over thirty emails during the last couple of days in protest against a buzz that a US Water Tech trade Mission is planning to “expose US firms to India’s rapidly expanding water and waste water market and trying to seize export opportunities in this sector.”
The activists submitted a lot of issues in which it was doubted that the Government’s single minded pursuit of corporatization of water is not at all a progressive one. They contend that the Sanitation Policy of 2002, of Karnataka is utterly unscientific which has not considered very fact that it’s the obligation that is a priority rather than the affordability when it comes to governing the water.
The democratic setup gives right to every citizen to raise his voice against any wrongdoings. I have a great respect for these activists for their incessant fights against any omissions and commissions. I have the fullest approval for their claim that water should not in any case be privatized. In fact, I was the one who fought my heart out against the privatization of BWSSB during 2001 when the then Government finally bowed to the pressure and did away with its plans. I am very firm in my belief and it is the belief of my Party too that water cannot in any manner be treated as a product which can be traded. Each drop of water is a valuable asset of the community.
On their issue regarding the visiting US team and the supposedly unscientific water policy of Karnataka, I have finally clarified them the following.
- The US team is not coming on our invitation.
- I will have a relook at the water Policy of 2002: and will ensure modifications if necessary are done, with due consultations with all those concerned.
- Further, there is a distinct difference between privatization and private participation. The question that if we have to provide the quality service to the Society; we have to be ready for participation from the others as a support to the Government. I asked the visiting team that where to get so much of funds to invest in the water sector. I am yet to get an answer from them. I know, this privatization word itself is an un-ending debate.
I assure that our Government will never let down the larger interests of the Society, and will never allow anyone to rule the common man.
S. Suresh kumar