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JUSCO & 24x7 Water Supply

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There have been discussions here on JUSCO getting the Mysore contract. 24x7 supply has been noted as a major change that this contract will achieve. Now, JUSCO has been managing the water supply in Jamshedpur. Jamshedpur is also known as just "Tata", which is not surprising since the city was founded around the Tata Iron and Steel Works factory there.

  Strangely, JUSCO doesn't provide 24x7 water supply at Jamshedpur in the areas under its responsibility. It just provides 6 hours daily and only to 74% of the population in its area of responsibility. So it seems a bit puzzling as to how we are looking to 24x7 water supply in Mysore under the same JUSCO. What is different? Some facts about the JUSCO water supply in Jamshedpur (link :

  • Supplies water to Jamshedpur with a population of 615,500
  • Only 335 connections metered, rest pay flat rate average bill Rs 81 per house connection
  • Water supply is for 6 hours a day only, restricted to 74% of the population in its area of responsibility
  • One month for new connection
  • No water supply for urban poor - supplied from 552 public stand posts
  • Outside the network, borewells with hand pumps provide water

Another, though not so surprising, aspect is that JUSCO operates in Jampot at an annual deficity of Rs 50 crores. This deficit is covered by Tata Steel. Water is free for Tata Steel employees! (link : customer citizen - sharbani.pdf)



murali772's picture

response from Mysore Grahakara Parishad members

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I had forwarded this blog to Dr Bhamy V Shenoy, a leading member of the MGP, and his response is as below:

Dear Murali,

thank you very much for bringing to our attention two key points about JUSCO through Praja posting.

I found the ADB report though short interesting and informative.  It is clear from that report that JUSCO is a relatively new company (formed in 2004), it has been supplying water for about 700,000 not on 24X7 basis but for about 6 hours a day and even more surprising that in some section of the city there is less than 1% metering.  The last point is most disturbing.  That may explain why per capita water consumption is one of the highest in India at 203 liters per day per person.

It is true that MGP is one of the few NGOs (perhaps may be the only one vocal supporter) of JUSCO from the beginning.  I as a member of MGP, have been actively supporting JUSCO.  Based on the information given by Mysore City Corporation, we were led to believe that JUSCO has more than 100 years of experience (this may still be true since JUSCO was the company formed out of the earlier utility) which has been supplying water in Jameshdpur on 24X7 for a very long time. Its operations are efficient but not the basis of its financial performance.  Our corporators had visited JUSCO operations and they also confirmed that water is supplied on 24X7 basis. Again this may be true for some section of the city. After all till few years back, some part of Mysore was getting water supply on 24X7 basis. Supplying water on 24X7 is not a rocket science and in just about every city in the developed countries water is supplied on 24X7 basis.

While some of us in MGP have given support to JUSCO project in Mysore, none of us have studied its technical or managerial capabilities. We went by the brand Tata and assumed that if they bid for contract and won it, they should be able to perform according to the contract terms.  Even if we had seen the ADB information which we see now, I would not have changed our opinion. I cannot speak for other members of MGP. This is because MGP has been studying the operations of Mysore's water supply for the last 20 years. It is totally dysfunctional and any outside consulting company even with some degree of technical competence should be able to improve it.  Of course if a company has excellent track record, and competence it will be great. But if we go on waiting for the ideal we may never achieve it.  

Based on the workings of JUSCO so far, while it is too early to say that they have failed in their mission, it will not be incorrect to state that they have not been successful in handling the public relations all that well.  Some section of the society which will be hurt if and when we get water supply on 24X7 is vehemently opposing JUSCO. JUSCO could have done a better job of interacting with the public and informing about how they plan to achieve their mission. In PR, they have failed.

At this stage we can only wait and hope for the best. I am still optimistic that we will have a better water supply system because of this JUSCO project under JNNURM.

Thanks again for sharing this information. I am copying JUSCO management to this email. May be they may like to clarify and give their views.

Bhamy Shenoy

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

another MGP member's comment

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Dr Shenoy had in turn forwarded the blog to other members for their comments, and he forwarded to me the following response from Mr Chandra Prakash

Dear Dr.Bhamy Shenoy,

Since you marked a copy to me i am giving my views.

First, some brands in the country like L&T, and TATA are institution of integrity and patriotism. We are lucky to have such institutions in a highly selfish and corrupt country that is India. Hence length of existence of JUSCO need not be a matter of concern.

Second, ADB's track record, in getting infrastructure projects out of its own loaned funds, is nothing much to be happy about. Remember our ADB funded road works in the city during 80's and 90's? Therefore, its report on jusco (i dont know the contents) should not be criteria to judge JUSCO's competence in completing mysore project.

Third, mysore may be one  among a very very few cities of the world which is bestowed with such a huge potential for drinking water. Two rivers Cauvery and Kapila are encircling the outer periphery of mysore within a distance of 30-40 kilometers. The need is only to tap these two sources and supply potable water. JUSCO should be capable of doing the needful, but it may need 3-5 years.

Fourth, coming to public relations - well mysore is peculiarly placed in this regard. One cannot convince a group of people who are either pampered (earlier by the Maharajas and now by the corrupt and castiest politicians) or/and  irresponsible (since they dont intend to pay for the services, see the number of meter-less connections, unpaid bills, underpayment or no payment of house tax etc etc) citizens. One can deal with responsible citizens but not this lot in mysore. They better be left for a while and Jusco should simply concentrate in creating the facilities for 27x7 water supply and things will fall in place automatically.

You are well experienced citizen of mysore and would know the nature of municipal and muda administrative acumen. Only privatization (in good hands, and JUSCO i think is one of them) is the solution. Just 5 years ago electricity supply system underwent a tremendous capital inputs to ensure safety and adherence to standards- switch boards were put at all important terminals and gone were those hanging loose wires as switches. It is back to square one, no switch boards, no solar panel controlled steet lights. So better to try JUSCO type of privatization.

Rgds, Chandra Prakash


Muralidhar Rao
Naveen's picture

Jusco - most intersesting

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Mr Murali

thanks for these most interesting exchanges - very revealing of the pathetic situation ! I feel it's worth continuing with JUSCO to see where this leads - if it fails, the effort might be worth & will offer better insights to the state on how best to go about it the next time - so, there is at least one positive.

One thing is for sure - people are very irresponsible & imagine that the state has to provide water, power, etc. for free ! Any move at privatization is opposed for this reason, but the reason cited is that officials & companies are hand-in-glove at fleecing the public.

I think for too long, the urban middle & lower middle income groups have got used to subsidies. This has to be broken step by step - the sooner, the better.

pdk's picture

So the answer is 'Lots of water'?

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So the answer to my question, what is different about Mysore that we expect JUSCO to be able to achieve 24x7 supply, seems to be that Mysore has lots of water around it (according to Mr Chandra Prakash).  Also, Mr Shenoy & Mr Chandra Prakash are putting their faith in JUSCO being able to do better than the public authorities.  We'll find out in 6 years.

Two corrections.  One to Mr Shenoy's reply: the 1% of metering is for the entire area of JUSCO's responsibility.  The second is to MGP's blogpost about the JUSCO deal (link here).  MGP seems to be under the impression that JUSCO supplies water to quite a few cities : Bhopal, Gwalior, Calcutta, Haldia, Muzaffurpur and Chennai. It doesn't. It only supplies to Jamshedpur as of now. One can check their home page for confirmation. 

@Naveen, yes the subsidy culture goes deep.  One of them, the petrol subsidy, has gone.  Would be interesting to see when crude hits $150, what the price of petrol will be.  I just wish the government had the nerve to cut one more, the cooking gas subsidy. The unsubsidised price for a cylinder would be Rs 575/- or so, I believe, compared to the Rs 365/- or so after the current revision.  Of course, if the people can't afford it, then they better look for alternatives I guess.  It would have been good if the diesel subsidy had gone too.  Lots of small cars are moving to diesel I believe.


murali772's picture

an update

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I had forwarded this blog on the 'Bangalore Patrol' event to Dr Bhamy Shenoy, seeking his update on the Mysore-JUSCO water supply out-sourcing contract. The following was his response:

Dear Muralidhar,

Thanks for your email inquiring about JUSCO 24X7 water supply project in Mysore.  I was thinking of how to respond. I am out of Mysore and do not know the latest. In any case JUSCO has not come to my expectation. Being a Tata company I was expecting a lot from them. I cannot say they have been a paragon of excellence. However in comparison to Vani Vilas Water Works, they are much better and Mysore is definitely better of with JUSCO.  VVWW was taking us to ruination.  

One can try to justify the inefficiency on the part of JUSCO by putting blame on other systemic problems like tripartite contract was not done properly, VVWW employees were not helpful, politicians were creating obstacles, there was too much citizen protests etc. But a good and efficient company is expected to anticipate and overcome all those problems. I did not such dynamic organization on the part of JUSCO.

Here is one report which appeared today. It gives some idea of the progress (or lack of progress) JUSCO is making in Mysore. In any case please promote the involvement of companies like JUSCO to improve and to keep away politics.

Regards, Bhamy

Star of Mysore report dt 26th Nov, titled "JUSCO 24X7 PROJECT BEHIND TARGET"

The ambitious project of providing 24x7 water supply to the city, undertaken by the JUSCO under the JNNURM grants, is slowly but steadily inching towards becoming a reality.

Though JUSCO is far behind its stipulated target of commissioning 10,000 connections by Sept. 2010, it claims to have commissioned 6,600 connections as on Oct. 22 and is crawling towards attaining the target of 30,000 by Jan. 2012.

This was revealed during the District Metering Area (DMA) meeting held under the aegis of JUSCO at a Park in Jayanagar, K.G. Koppal, this morning.

The meeting was aimed at launching the meter installation process in that area (Ward 25 & 26) and clarifying doubts among residents about the 24x7 project.

Area Corporator Nagendra, Vani Vilas Water Works Executive Engineer Subramanya, JUSCO Connections Manager Balakrishna Raj Nirchal, Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board Assistant Executive Engineer Nagaraj and others were present.

Nagaraj told SOM that of the 6,600 connections commissioned, 1,000 were in Saraswathipuram (from 1st Main to 17th Main) while the rest were in parts of Shanthinagar, Ghousianagar, Dattanagar and Rajeevnagar.

He said that the MCC, as per the tripartite agreement, had served notices to JUSCO for their delay in implementing the project within the target agreed upon and imposed fines too.

With only three years' period left to complete the project out of the total period of five years, JUSCO still seems to be toddling in the Primary Period, instead of commencing its Implementation Period at the end of two years.

Asked about the cause for delay, Nirchal said that JUSCO faced multiple problems at the onset, main being the paucity of man power. He also complained about lack of coordination by VVWW and said the pipe-laying and repair works had to be taken up only during the non-supply hours, taking care that the residents were not inconvenienced.

Under the 24x7 water supply project, a total of 69 Hydraulic Pressure Area have been demarcated in the District Metering Area, of which 22 have been covered so far, that is 10 in eastern part of city and 12 in we-stern part, Nirchal said.

Given the difficulties involved in a first of its kind contracts, the progress doesn't look too bad. Hopefully, it will even pick up momentum now.

Muralidhar Rao
Public Agenda's picture

JUSCO developments

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Mysore project is not a pilot it is a full scale scheme thrust on the elected reps at a huge cost. While JUSCO is active in Jamshedpur for about 14,000 families in a twonship, they have a project in HAldia and Salt Lake city as well as Bhopal and very recently in the rest of Jamshedpur. Some other projects are in chennai etc But none of them are commissioned so far

recently in October Veolia got a project in Nagpur even after the Nagpur pilot project operated by them failed similarly others such as Ahmedabad have dropped the idea of 24 X & as too expensive,,,,,,

In the case of JUSCO can the recent developments make the pro-JUSCO and PPP supporters here  to question the importance given to the contract.

e.g. in the case of buses BMTC has refunded a penalty to Ashok leyland and TATA motors in part and of course the contract was not cancelled and they insist there was no falut in design etc

IOf course Toyota and Hyundai have wiothdrawn huge numbers of cars but  NANO (TATA again BTW) has denied a fault in nano but are still withdrawing cars and changing the design due to the NANO car fires reported.


murali772's picture

want to recommend Venolia?

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@ Public agenda

I expect the contents of the first para of your post refer to my calling this a 'first of its kind contract'. Well, just scroll a little above to see what your 'anti-JUSCO and PPP opposing' co-traveller had to say - have appended it here-below for your ready reference:

MGP seems to be under the impression that JUSCO supplies water to quite a few cities : Bhopal, Gwalior, Calcutta, Haldia, Muzaffurpur and Chennai. It doesn't. It only supplies to Jamshedpur as of now. One can check their home page for confirmation.

And, through the last two para's, you are in essence expressing doubts about a TATA company abiding by its mandate to consumers, compared to multi-nationals in the field. So, you have now begun to have faith in multi-nationals, after all? May be, you would then like to recommend Venolia for upgrading the Bangalore water supply system?


Muralidhar Rao
idontspam's picture

 you mean veolia?

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 you mean veolia?

Public Agenda's picture

read the last line

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murali772's picture

what about the last line?

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@ PA - what about the last line? Which last line?

@ ids - yes, VEOLIA - thanks for correcting

And, those interested in the subject may want to read this blog too, which interalia goes into the ideological issues involved.

Muralidhar Rao
Public Agenda's picture

Mr. Tata and former DC Mysore

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In retrospect how does this sound ? after the recent comments by SB and others on Mr Tata?  shd the demand not be for open government of which governance will be given  a small part and the role of all governments including the 3rd tier will be strentghend rather than weakened.

too much policy by various government and non-governmnt profit and nonprofit agencies

the other way is not only govt accountability as below

But corporate and private sector who love self regulation , who are exactly the ones consulting on the kind of regulation required. Talk about conflict of interest here!! but projects dont stop



2010-04-21 18:35:43

Mysore, Apr. 21 (KCU&KK)- Deputy Commissioner and JNNURM Special Officer P. Manivannan announced today that he would send an e-mail to Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata highlighting the alleged inefficiency of JUSCO in handling the assigned drinking water distribution work in city. He was presiding over the progress review meeting of JNNURM at Mysore City Corporation (MCC) office here. The DC took the hard stand when Mayor Purushotham himself pointed out that the MCC ward he represented was poorly

murali772's picture

an update from MGP

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Even if all the problems are resolved and JUSCO is really able to deliver 24x7 water supply, the question still remains of what will happen once the contract period is over and JUSCO hands the water supply system back to VVWW. It is essential that MCC should separate VVWW to form an independent company (like the one in Bangalore) to manage Mysore's water supply. Such a company should be managed on professional lines, recruiting highly qualified staff. A regulatory authority (such as Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Authority in the electrical sector) should be established to monitor the company and fix the tariff after public hearings. Unless we have these institutions to manage water supply on a professional basis, our water crisis will only get worse every year.

For the full update on the present status of the MCC-JUSCO water supply contract in Mysore, prepared by the MGP team, click here.

In fact, this is precisely the concern I had raised, way back in May, '09, when I had posted as below here, amongst other things.

My only concern is what happens at the end of the 6-yr contract period? Do things revert to the present anarchic state? Or, can we hope that by then the public would have realised the benefits, and will seek to renew the contract?

Whatever, Bangalore's BWSSB doesn't provide the right model for Mysore to follow for future. What they could perhaps do is to divide the city into two or more zones, and outsource the distribution to different professional agencies, with the control at the source/ s alone remaining with the VVWW (which can simultaneously be down-sized to its optimum level), all overseen by a duly constituted regulatory body, with simultaneous accountability to the MCC.

And, once stabilised, perhaps that can become a model for the other cities too.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Update from Global Water Intelligence

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The fact that no one wants to pay for water is one of the reasons why the country now needs to find €64 billion to upgrade its water infrastructure to meet EU standards.
Aside from this hare-brained referendum, things seem to be moving in the right direction in Italy. The government has appointed a regulator with a staff of 40 to oversee tariffs, promote efficiency and ensure that services are run effectively and transparently. It should make the market safer for investment and private sector participation.

For the full report in the Global Water Intelligence, click here.

This provides for a fairly balanced view of the whole scenario. Very clearly, there's appreciation that there are huge costs involved, and these have to be recovered. And, whereas in the earlier times of crony capitalism and cartel operations, the Veolia's were perhaps getting away with profiteering, in today's cost conscious world, particularly with the JUSCO's waiting in the wings, what is required is the tightening up of the the regulatory mechanism.

Plainly the way to go - including for us.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

the janata knows better, Mayor Sahibare'

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But once the contract was awarded, a JUSCO survey indicated that there were 1.75 water connections lakh as against the 1.2 lakh connections mentioned in the tender, and the pipeline that was to be overhauled was 1,911 km as against the 900 km mentioned. Though a revised estimate was submitted, it was not approved and work was carried out as per the original bid amount. 
Mayor R. Lingappa confirmed to The Hindu that Vani Vilas Water Works would be vested with the responsibility of providing and maintaining water supply. “The final decision will be taken by the corporation council. It is unlikely that fresh tenders will be invited,” he said.
Suresh Sharma, general manager, JUSCO, Mysuru, said the project contract will terminate on January 27 and the company will not take part in the tender process. Mr. Sharma claimed that JUSCO had achieved 95 per cent of the project objectives and had provided connections in 47 district metering wards. But this has been disputed by the Mayor. “They were supposed to ensure 24x7 water supply in all the wards but the supply has only deteriorated in most wards. The staff of Vani Vilas Water Works is competent of completing the second phase of the project,” Mr. Lingappa said.
For the full text of the report in The Hindu, click here
Oh, so this is where the sabotage started! And of course continued in various other ways thereon too - check here for more on that. 
And, as against the confidence expressed by the Mayor on VVW's competence, quoted below are excerpts (for the full text of that report also in The Hindu, click here) from what a prominent and respected resident has had to say
Bhamy V. Shenoy, who is associated with Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP) has expressed pessimism about the competence of the Vani Vilas Water Works to handle the situation and has called for a separate competent body for the work. “JUSCO, with help from TCS, has developed a software and Geographic Information System (GIS) which provides information about the pipeline network, leakages etc. We will be back to square one if the assets are not utilised by trained people,” he said.
He pointed out that a critical factor for not finding a solution to water woes of Mysore was political interference. “It was a strategic blunder on the part of Mysureans for having remained indifferent when water works was transferred to the Mysore City Corporation in the mid 90s. The MGP has been promoting the establishment of a separate, autonomous company like the one serving Bengaluru,” he said.
I am fairly clear as to who I would like to believe. And, it's not a matter of competence alone. The bigger factor is corruption. 
Further, the solution does not lie in having a BWSSB like set up in Mysuru. The answer may perhaps lie here - yes, with the likes of JUSCO being outsourced the supply, but in a more transparent way (including not hiding the true situation from the contractor).


Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Undoing of a well-conceived scheme

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The Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) Council on Friday resolved to retain the responsibility of supplying drinking water to the city after the imminent exit of Jamshedpur Utilities and Services Company Ltd. (JUSCO) by May-end. - - - - The MCC will incur an expenditure of Rs. 3.88 crore per month as against its revenue collection of Rs. 3.5 lakh. Besides, it will require 214 personnel which will cost the MCC an additional Rs. 23 lakh per month.

For the full text of the report in The Hindu, click here.

So, essentially, the tax payer is going to be burdened with an additional Rs 50 cr per annum, while simultaneously the citizens are going to be deprived of the benefits of a well-conceived (by none less than the redoudtable Mr Manivannan, IAS) scheme, and condemned once again to the dis-services of Vani Vilas Water Works, to escape from which, JUSCO had been roped in, in the first place.

And, mind you, taxes are not paid by the rich alone, as generally believed all these years. Every aam aadmi, while buying even essentials like toothpaste and soap, becomes a tax payer.

And, in Kalaburgi, the pseudo-Socialists have an additional grouse - that the water is recycled, going by the following excerpts from another report in The Hindu (for the full text, click here).

The district unit of the Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist) on Saturday staged a protest in front of the Kalaburagi City Corporation opposing the privatisation of drinking water distribution under the World Bank-aided 24x7 Drinking Water Supply project.

SUCI district secretary S.M. Sharma said that the drinking water supplied to the city under the scheme was from the Bhima and the Bennethora. He added that the same contaminated and sewage water from the Bhima was treated and supplied to all the 55 wards under the scheme.

Considering that they are in a drought-prone area, one would have thought that any scheme to make water available would have been welcome. But, of course, politics have to take precedence, I guess.

Meanwhile, the people of Pune seem to have got their priorities right, going by the following excerpts from another report in the ToI (for the full text, click here).

Raising concerns over the funding of the 24X7 water supply project of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), civic officials on Wednesday said private companies may be roped in to support the much talked-about scheme.

Resulting from the changed political outlook? Welcome, either way.

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