Saturday, December 29, 2007

Water council on the anvil to attract private players The Hindu : Front Page

<cite>The Hindu : Front Page : Water council on the anvil to attract private players</cite>: "
To ensure better water supply in urban areas and to make the sector attractive for private players, the State Government is thinking of setting up a regulatory body on the lines of Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission.The State Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Council, which is to be the regulator, has been conceptualised as an 'independent body' that will take over all the functions of the Government with regard to the water and sanitation sector except the power to formulate policies.Restructuring tariffIt is learnt that one of the important mandates of the council will be to 'develop clarity on the kind of private participation that can be entered into', apart from restructuring tariff rates, as recommended by the Urban Drinking Water and Sanitation Policy of 2002.'Setting up of the independent council is a precursor to full-blown privatisation. When private entities enter the field, they do not have to deal with a government body that is accountable to the general public but to a small council,' says Kshitij Urs, a rights activist. (snip)

A long wait for water -Deccan Herald

<cite>Deccan Herald - A long wait for water</cite>: "
Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) has assured the residents of 72 wards, in erstwhile CMC areas, of providing Cauvery water by the end of December. And for this, the Board is getting an additional 110 MLD (million litres per day) of Cauvery water by strengthening its pumping stations at a cost of Rs 14 crore. This project was recently inaugurated in K R Puram where the residents were supplied with the additional water the department has generated.But the residents of Kodigehalli and Virupakshapura, who have also been assured with supply of Cauvery water, are unsure if the board will fulfill its promise, the main reason being — the department hasn't completed the required pipeline work as yet. 'Work to lay the pipes is still on. BWSSB officials have been telling us that we will have Cauvery water by the end of this month. With less than two weeks left in this month and so much work to be completed, do they actually expect us to believe them?,' asks Anjaneya Gowda, a resident of Kodigehalli.

Collection of beneficiaries’ contribution for providing Cauvery water began in 2004 itself and since then, hundreds of residents have contributed with respect to extent of their properties. A majority of these people are those living in newly formed layouts. “Residents of new layouts have paid the required sum as the CMC officers had made it compulsory to get their building plan sanctioned. However we, who have been living in Kodigehalli for many years, have not paid the amount. Once BWSSB starts providing us with sufficient Cauvery water, we will pay the dues,” said Kari Gowda, also a resident of Kodigehalli.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Sebi will help to bolster municipal bond market - livemint

Sebi will help to bolster municipal bond market - livemint: "
In January 1998, when the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation issued its own municipal bonds without a state government guarantee, many frowned.The Rs100 crore issue, to support the water supply and sewerage components of a Rs589 crore infrastructure investment programme, was a success. The results encouraged many other municipal corporations to float bonds with investment grade ratings and investors, both private and public, grabbed the opportunity. Despite the good performance, the municipal bond market is only 0.1% of the total corporate bonds traded in India.
In the US, where such bonds have been in the market for the past 120 years, municipal bonds constitute about 12% of the overall corporate bond market in the country.
In the last six years, municipalities in India issued 13 bonds amounting to Rs733 crore. In the US, the market of such bonds is $2.5 trillion (Rs98.5 trillion).
An international conference on developing India’s municipal bond market in Mumbai on Monday emphasized the need for encouraging investors to consider municipal bonds as an attractive alternative to other financial instruments. (snip)

‘5 p.c. of middle-class have rainwater harvesting units’ The Hindu : Karnataka / Bangalore News

The Hindu : Karnataka / Bangalore News : ‘5 p.c. of middle-class have rainwater harvesting units’: "
About 80 per cent of middle-class people in Bangalore do not know that the sources of piped water to the city are the Cauvery and the Arkavathy. The percentage goes up to 88 among low income groups.As much as 63 per cent from low income groups do not even know the existence of these rivers and only 24 per cent know that the Cauvery was one of the sources. Among the middle-class, 92 per cent do not know how far water travels to reach the city.About 35 per cent from the low income groups still depend on public taps and hand pumps for their daily supply of water, while only 5 per cent of the educated middle-class have rainwater harvesting system in their houses.These figures were made public here on Thursday from a survey relating to 'water literacy' conducted by the Children's Movement for Civic Awareness (CMCA). The survey covered about 3,000 households from both the middle-class and the low income groups across the city. It was carried out in September and October. About 60 per cent of respondents were women. (snip)

23 units asked to close down The Hindu : Karnataka / Bangalore News

The Hindu : Karnataka / Bangalore News : 23 units asked to close down: "
The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) has issued orders for the closure of 23 polluting industries as part of its efforts towards a pollution-free environment in Bangalore.When the KSPCB took up an initiative to combat water pollution problems in the city, it was observed that large number of small scale/tiny units that were operating in the unorganised sector since several years were discharging water to drains or sewerage lines causing pollution.In a press release, H.C. Sharat Chandra, Chairman of the Board, said the KSPCB had received a list of units from the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike which were allegedly discharging effluents into the storm water drain. The list mainly included small-scale/tiny units engaged in fabric/yarn dyeing, electroplating, engineering and other activities and have been operating for several years. (snip)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Why are we denied Cauvery water? ask village residents The Hindu : Karnataka / Bangalore News

The Hindu : Karnataka / Bangalore News : Why are we denied Cauvery water? ask village residents: "
Residents of 19 villages around the Bommasandra Industrial Area here, numbering about 1.25 lakh, want a simple question answered: why are they denied Cauvery water when the industries, whose effluents they allege have polluted their groundwater and rendered then unfit for drinking, are being supplied Cauvery water by the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB)?Members of the Bangalore Urban Zilla Panchayat representing Hebbagodi, Bommasandra, Chandapura, Hennagara and Jigani have held around 10 rounds of meeting with various officials demanding that they be provided Cauvery water as the water they get from most borewells in the region is not potable.So far, three independent studies have been conducted on the quality of groundwater in this region by the Mines and Geology Department, the Indian Institute of Science's Centre for Sustainable Technologies and Bangalore University's Department of Environmental Sciences. Though they do not state a specific link between industries in the region and pollution, they establish categorically that a majority of random water samples here are unfit for drinking. Many villagers are now forced to get water from sources far away or buy drinking water. (snip)

Board decides to fleece ‘defaulters’ The Hindu : Karnataka / Bangalore News

The Hindu : Karnataka / Bangalore News : Board decides to fleece ‘defaulters’: "
For property owners in 72 wards in newly added zones of the city, Cauvery water will be available from December but at a premium.Property owners will have to pay the Beneficiary Capital Contribution as per the dimensions of the site, then a fine upwards of Rs. 100 will have to be remitted along with the contribution.While there is no contribution for houses of 600 sq. ft. and less, for sites measuring between 1200 sq. ft and 2400 sq. ft, Rs. 5,000 will have to be paid.The fine, counted from August 1, 2005 is Rs. 100 a month. For sites 2,400 sq. ft and above, the contribution is Rs. 10,000 and the fine is Rs. 200 a month.The contribution along with the fine can be paid in 24 instalments along with the water bills, according to a Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) spokesperson. (snip)

Monday, December 3, 2007

Many slums get water once in 90 days The Hindu : Karnataka / Bangalore News

The Hindu : Karnataka / Bangalore News : Many slums get water once in 90 days: "
Urban poor from over 40 slums in Yelahanka Assembly Constituency protested in front of the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) on Wednesday against lack of water supply in these areas on Wednesday.'For the past three months there has been no water supply. People have to wait for more than four hours to get water at Rs. 3 a pot,' said Sheela, organising secretary of Women's Voice, which led the protests.Terming it 'a violation of human rights', Ms. Sheela said the burden was most borne by women as they were the ones who had to walk long distances.In a memorandum submitted at Governor Rameshwar Thakur's office, the group said the BWSSB's failure had encouraged private players to take over the supply of water. The memorandum requested the Governor to direct the BWSSB to provide water supply to all slums in Yelahanka Assembly Constituency and to build a water storage tank to supply water to Idagha Mohalla slum, Tank Mohalla slum and Medina Mohalla slum, located in the elevated terrains of D.J. Halli. (snip)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

BWSSB’s penalty unfair, say consumers The Hindu : Karnataka / Bangalore News

The Hindu : Karnataka / Bangalore News : BWSSB’s penalty unfair, say consumers: "
Cauvery water for the 72 newly-added areas of the city comes with an expensive rider: a hefty penalty for those who did not pay up in time. Consumers are not amused.As a 'beneficiary' of the new project which will deliver 100 million litres of water from the Cauvery every day, individuals should have paid the capital contribution by July 31, 2005, the deadline set by the State Government.In case money was not paid by then, penalties of at least Rs. 2,700, Rs. 5,400 or Rs. 8,100, depending on the site dimensions, will have to be paid, says the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB).Penalty amountInterestingly, the penalty amounts to 54 per cent of the original contribution.'I did not pay the contribution because they had not even laid the water pipes then. My argument was that you can ask me to pay once you are starting water supply. I am willing to pay the beneficiary capital contribution but not the penalty,' said A.V. Shama Rao of Ramamurthynagar. (snip)