Piped water will come with a price, says expert

ST Correspondent
Friday, 1 June 2018

Pune: “To accelerate economic growth and give impetus for social development in Madhya Pradesh, Asian Development Bank through MP Urban Services Improvement Project will be contributing to the State government for improving urban services,” said Jingmin Huang, Principal Urban Development Specialist, Urban Development and Water Division, South Asia Department, Asian Development Bank. 

Pune: “To accelerate economic growth and give impetus for social development in Madhya Pradesh, Asian Development Bank through MP Urban Services Improvement Project will be contributing to the State government for improving urban services,” said Jingmin Huang, Principal Urban Development Specialist, Urban Development and Water Division, South Asia Department, Asian Development Bank. 

She was one of the panelists for the two-day seminar on ‘Water and Sanitation’ hosted by Ministry of Finance in collaboration with Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) as knowledge partner in partnership with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Mahratta Chamber of Commerce Industries and Agriculture (MCCIA). 

Huang said, “If people of MP want 24X7 clean water, with adequate water pressure then there is no option to piped water and this piped water comes with a minimum price as pipes that are laid for water supply require investments. It will have a water meter to check the consumption of the water.” 

“The proposed project, which will through 2017 to 2022 provide improved and sustainable urban services to 1.7 million people in Madhya Pradesh (around 8 per cent of the state’s urban population), and enhance capacity and strengthen institutional systems of the state,” she said. 

The project will be implemented on Contractor Build, Operate and Transfer (CBOT) model. “We are working with an aim that this project should last. During our survey before embarking on this project, we saw that the pipelines were abandoned or the work was half done. This should not happen again,” she said. 

“The project will be implemented by Madhya Pradesh Urban Development Corporation (MPUDC) and Urban Development Board (UDB). A tripartite agreement has been done between the State government and MPUDC,” she said, adding that it includes tax, tariff and transfer. 

“We are considering to provide special subsidy for families under poverty line. The project would be completed in two phases; in the first phase we will be covering 64 URBs and in the second phase 70 URBs,” she said. 
“The project is carried under ‘Meeting Asian Infrastructure Needs’ and required a budget which is 2.5 per cent of the total investments,” she said.  

Amitabh Kundu, Distinguished Fellow, Research and Information Systems For Developing Countries (RIS) said water and electricity subsidies must be removed if we want sustainable development. Panelist Kundu said the country has enough water but its inequitable distribution is the root cause of water scarcity. 

“The wrong crop pattern and pricing has affected the water table and Punjab and Haryana are glaring examples of it,” Kundu added. Even if we implement the equalization theory, different states have different demands and thus it would fail. Accreditation Institute for Assessment Body needs to be impressed upon to do investments. Water and Sanitation require major emphasis,” he said.

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