June 23, 2018
Coimbatore: The City Corporation has given French firm Suez the work order to manage and operate water distribution system in the city and ensure continuous drinking water supply. This is the largest water services contract for Suez in the country.
Several litres are getting stolen everyday through unauthorised water connections. The corporation has authorised only 2.5 lakh water connections for the residents and commercials in the city.
Considering the difficulties in identifying the unauthorised connections, the corporation awarded an Rs 3,000-crore project to the French company to implement 24-hour water supply in the city.
The company also agreed to identify unauthorised connections, repair faulty pipelines and supply drinking water throughout the day. As part of this 24×7 drinking water supply project, the corporation would build 29 new water tanks and also replace the existing pipeline from tanks for over 100 km and distribution pipelines for over 1,000 km.
The project has been designed to benefit all citizens, according to the corporation. Suez will install automatic meters and manage public complaints.
Owing to unauthorised connections and pipeline leakage, the corporation has been suffering huge revenue loss. Though sufficient water is discharged from dam, it is supplied only once in 10 days in many parts of Coimbatore. The corporation has installed metres as part of tax collection.
The project has been opposed by many and the CPI and CPM have announced protest against the privatisation of water supply. The corporation issued a statement that Suez was awarded the contract only for operation and maintenance of water supply and had no role in fixing tariff.
However, people fear that the company might levy service charges as done in Delhi.
“Privatising drinking water supply for 24 hours is good. But people would lose the connectivity with water bodies. People should be aware of where the water comes from. If we are getting water whenever we open the tap,we won’t be worried about the lakes and other water bodies. Instead of privatisation, the corporation should look into reforms like protecting water bodies,” said Environmentalist Foundation of India chief coordinator Sanjay Prasad G.