Left parties oppose bid to privatise rural water works management

A decision by the Pune Zilla Parishad, to issue tenders inviting private parties to manage and maintain eight rural water works, has been opposed by Left parties.

Speaking to The Indian Express, CPI-M leader Ajit Abhyankar said this was the first step towards privatisation of water supply and such a step has not worked anywhere in the country.

Earlier this week, the Pune Zilla Parishad had floated tenders to invite bids for maintaining and collecting water bills from villages served by the eight rural water works in the district. The water works in question are located in the talukas of Ambegaon, Purandhar, Maval, Baramati and Mulshi.

Pune Zilla Parishad CEO Ayush Prasad said this move will bring in transparency and accountability in water supply management, which has long been plagued by various grey areas.

“The Zilla Parishad lacks the manpower to maintain water works round the clock. Also, many parts of water supply require frequent attention in case of failure, which is time consuming. Rural water works were designed to enable supply of tap water to the last household, but because of many operational constraints, that has not happened,” he said.

– Stay updated with the latest Pune news. Follow Express Pune on Twitter here and on Facebook here. You can also join our Express Pune Telegram channel here.

There have been complaints of illegal water connections and water thefts from the main lines which, due to lack of adequate manpower, have not been possible to detect on time.

Former Shiv Sena MP Shivajirao Adhalrao Patil also supported the idea of tenders. “Most of the time, rural water works are non-functional. At least giving them on private public partnership model will ensure they are maintained properly and are working,” he said.

Citing the example of village Dhamani, Patil said a water work scheme was completed in the village almost 14 months ago at the cost of Rs 2.86 crore. “But the scheme did not work for a single day. If given under PPP, it will work at least,” he said.

However, Abhyankar opposed this idea and said his party would soon be taking a studied stand on this matter. “This is the first step towards privatisation of water works. Across the nation, the experience of people who had opted for such a scheme has not been good. There is no need for Pune to go for such a scheme,” he said.

The matter would be discussed at various levels and a studied decision would be taken, he said.