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BWSSB emulating the Mysore example?

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BWSSB is going for a complete overhaul of its pipelines to check water leakage; 60,000 of the 1.05 lakh water meters in Bangalore South will be replaced; 145 km length of pipelines will be replaced for this pilot project. The target is to bring down the leakage from the current 36% to 16%. Work will begin in three months. The total project cost is Rs174 crore and would be awarded to the lowest bidders, who are L&T, SE-SPL, JUSCO, Veolia Water, Manila Water and GVPR Engineers. The contractor will be given three years to implement and three years to operate and maintain the work. The chairman assured of no additional charges being passed on to the consumers.

Once the project proves to be successful, it will be extended to all six zones of the city. Also, as a separate programme for non-revenue water, four NGOs have been roped in to provide individual sanitary connections to 120 slums in the city so that the water going to these localities can be accounted for too. The NGOs that will work with BWSSB are Mythri Sarva Seva, New entity for Social action, India Community Service Society and Mahatma Gandhi Trust.

For the full report in the DNA, click here

From a reading of the report, the impression one gets is that there's an overall appreciation that the way forward is the one shown by the Mysore city, in the form of its deal with JUSCO (check this), and that is now sought to be replicted in other cities too - namma Bengaluru, to begin with. This certainly a welcome development. And, the move to work with NGOs for the connections in slums seems the right thing to do too. Hopefully, they have been selected on the basis of their crdibility.

Perhaps, we in PRAJA could track these works closely, like we have been doing with Namma Metro.

Muralidhar Rao


idontspam's picture

 RIP Bangalore south roads

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 RIP Bangalore south roads for the next 3 years and then a permenant state of disrepair from then on

murali772's picture

govt's thinking?

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A response on "SaveKoramangala Y-group" to my posting of a link to thre deabte
I had an insight into the Government thinking on water yesterday at the Major water resources minister Mr Basavraj Bommai's office, where I had gone for a meeting. The minister asked a question to Sriram Vedire, a national figure in the water movement ... is water tradable, and our reply was that as a common, it was not, and even this year's nobel in economics went to Dr Elenor on the same fundamentals.
He came back saying that we were absolutely right that water is not tradeable, but only water services are tradeable. Perhaps this is the framework in which the governement wants to take it forward - have well serviced water on both the potable and reuse fronts.
regards, R


Muralidhar Rao

It is not tradable only according to those who have it

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Many ppl say that water is not tradable, or education should not be profitable. But who are these ppl? Arent these the same ppl who hav water available to them and send their kids to private schools?

Has any one ever asked the poor? Do the poor really care whether they get water and education from the govt or from some pvt party? Chances are that they are dependent on pvt players newas.

murali772's picture

Further exchanges on SK Y-group

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VM wrote:

U can rest assured that the opposition to this "privatisation" will not come from a minister or even politicians at large.
There does exist a bunch of perhaps well meaning but misinformed water activists, who will fight tooth and nail, to what they would call, "Big corporate-government nexus", "world bank agendas", and a misrepresentation of water services privatisation as selling the source itself.
To their credit however, there are any number of instances on the global front where these excercises in privatisation have not yielded the desired results, and governments have taken back the water supply. In India however, the issue is of non performing government bodies in basic services, and with no hope (as i see it), to it ever changing with our current labour laws and bureaucracy insulation against non performance.  
it is perhaps time for a more modern and moderate mindset amongst a section of civil society to look, demand and facilitate end deliveries rather than get caught in Philosophical and ideological posturing.


I responded:

It is perhaps true that most water-supply upgradation schemes tried out in the past (not in India) had ended up in total privatisation, and, driven by the short-term profit maximising objective of the service providers taking advantage of the 'natural monopoly' nature of the service, led to unfair cost escalations. But, the reasons for the municipalities not wanting to continue providing the service themselves, in the first place, hadn't disappeared at all. Not quite appreciating this, some municipalities had apparently reverted to undertaking it themselves, and are now inevitably set to re-invent the wheel, after putting the citizens to a lot of hardships, in the process.

Not just water supply, as per the provisions of the 74th amendment, municipalities in India are now required to be responsible for power supply, public bus transport services, traffic policing, etc, in additions to the myriad functions they have already been (mis)-handling so far. And, no municipality anywhere in the world can claim to have the capacity to manage all of them by itself.

In namma Bengaluru, inspite of the portfolio being handled by BWSSB, suppossedly a specialised parastatal agency, the situation is quite dismal, with well over 40% of the water pumped from far off Cauvery, not being accounted for, apart from even the rest getting contaminated by sewage, now and then. The inevitable answer is outsourcing. And, here we have a model in the Mysore City - JUSCO deal, which, with some tweaking based on the learnings from the present phase of execution in its third year, could perhaps provide the right answer. What's required in addition of course is an effective overseeing mechanism, perhaps in the form of a duly constituted regulatory authority, with jurisdiction over the entire state.

Whatever, saying no to anything and everything is playing straight into the hands of the well-entrenched lobby formed of the water-tanker and bore-well industry, in collusion with the BWSSB mafia.

This subject, as well related ones (including the ideological issues involved), have already been discussed at length on PRAJA.


Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

how to perpetuate 38% UFW

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Here is Mr Ramamurthy (BWSSB Chairman)'s response to my question as to why Bangalore is not following the Mysore lead of engaging JUSCO to help reduce UFW (unaccounted for water). After admitting at the very beginning that the UFW for Bangalore is at an unconscionable 32 to 38%, here he goes on to divert the subject to non-availability of bulk water (as compared to Mysore) for offering 24 X 7 supply. The fact of the JUSCO deal targeting reduction of UFW to a more acceptable level of 15% is conveniently overlooked.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

kite-flying exercise

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The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) is considering hiring private players to manage the operations and maintenance of the proposed water supply in 110 villages in the outermost periphery of the City. Reason? The heavy revenue loss, of nearly 60 per cent, incurred by the BWSSB in supplying water from Cauvery 4th Stage Phase 2 to the areas carved out of the old City Municipal Councils.
- - - - The 110 villages do no yet have any infrastructure required for water supply like pipelines or underground drains. The BWSSB wants to involve private players from the beginning. A draft proposal prepared by the BWSSB talks of plans to sign a 10-year contract with private agencies, allotting the first three years for construction and the next seven years for operations and maintenance. Through the agencies, the board intends to appoint operators for water supply, set up operation and maintenance systems and conduct revenue collection in the five zones. 
- - - - But the BWSSB Employees’ Association has vowed to oppose any kind of privatisation taken up by the board. “The BWSSB has already outsourced several of its projects, including sewage treatment plants, water treatment plants and unaccounted for water (UFW). The contracts are for a period of three to five years and can be renewed. If the complaint is that the existing employees do not work, then it is because they have not been trained. As the board has received the government’s approval to hire 400 more employees, there will be no need for any private player,” its president Rudre Gowda said.
BWSSB Chairman Anjum Parwez, however, claimed that there was no such proposal to engage private players. “Water supply to the 110 villages is still at the level of preparation and submission of the detailed project report (DPR) to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) which will fund the project. Our focus is to begin the project, and its maintenance will remain with the BWSSB even after the completion.”
For the full text of the report in the Deccan Herald, click here
This is a typical kite-flying exercise by the government, which knows that outsourcing is the only way forward, but does not have the courage of conviction to move on it, and is therefore very easily beaten into submission by the "water mafia confederation", comprising the valve-men, the BWSSB staff & engineers, the tanker sub-mafia, borewell sub-mafia, and of course the neta's at various levels, all of whom have various vested interests which they are desperate to perpetuate. 
Now, when the "Socialists" too join in with this mafia confederation lot, even with all the data now available to them pointing very clearly to the enormous benefits of outsourcing the select functions to reputed private players, is when you begin to wonder if it's enough to just term them as "psuedo's".
The so-called "new-age" political parties will endorse it in great style (quite like in the case of public bus transport services, and power distribution), but strictly within the confines of the seminar halls, supposedly to remain "politically correct", as they perceive things. That in the process, they get relegated to the background at the hustings, quite like the age-old Congress, is perhaps something they have yet to realise.
It'll be interesting to see if any of the states under "BJP sarkar" take it forward. 
Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

advantage district & taluk head-quarters

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The state government is considering providing 24X7 water supply in all district headquarters barring Kolar and Chikkaballapur. The new scheme is likely to find  mention in the ensuing Budget 2015-16 to be presented on March 13 by CM Siddaramaiah. As per the existing plan, the scheme will be completed in three years with an estimated cost of Rs 459 crore. - - - Once the district headquarters are granted 24X7 water supply, we will focus on taluk headquarters, the officer said.

Already the government has partially implemented the scheme in Hubballi-Dharwad and in Mysuru districts.

For the full text of the report in the New Indian Express, click here.

So, while the work in Bengaluru is perhaps on the back-burner, with powerful vested interest groups doing everything to retain the status quo, things are apparently set to take off in the other cities and town-ships in the state. Indeed a move that the government needs to be complimented for.

And, once these get going, and the people begin to enjoy the benefits, hopefully, the vested interest groups in Bengaluru could be side-lined, so that the citizens here too get the full benefit of the 1450 ML pumped in every day, and without any contamination.

Muralidhar Rao
Sanjeev's picture

Impossible being talked and small example extraploated

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These r election gimicks.  When water itself is so scare in many districts,  Its impossible  for Govt to provide even alternate days water in all districts for 2 Hrs also.  

All are worng example of Hubli - Dharward and Mysore,  by implimenting in 1000 Houses in these places,  can we say whole city has been done ???

Presently Haveri gets water once in 6 days,  so their are no water sources near by except borewell and even river water can be supplied once in a 6 days at Haveri.  Surrounding villages gets water thru borwell and people are sufferring from Kidny stone due hard water and its big health issue

Also Farmers are sufferring from erratic rain and water irrigation,  so  let us be realistic and  these  r all gimicks  and  even if they need to do, it will be bankrupcy for state.

Bagalkot and Bijapur farmers are worst hit during summer due to non supply of irrigation water from Krishana


murali772's picture

heading towards bankruptcy

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Well, well, well - when I first read about the 24x7 water supply scheme proposed to be implemented in the district & taluk headquarters, I somehow thought Namma Bhagya-raaj CM avaru had got wised up on the futility of pursuing the old Socialistic path, and decided to do a course correction quietly, making a start away from Bangalore, so that it doesn't attract too much attention. But, it now turns out that it was all just wishful thinking on my part.

Reliable sources tell me that it's going to be termed "CM Nagara Neery Bhagya", to be totally funded and executed by government agencies (unlike the Mysore-JUSCO PPP), over an extended period of 10 years.

Well, we have seen how similar upgradation schemes in the case of bus transport services (JnNURM funds for the TTMC's), and power supply, have hardly had any tangible effect on the quality of services, and I guess the same will be the case with this scheme too, though, I'd like to be proved different.

Apparently, though some voices were raised in support of the PPP model, no official was prepared to risk unions stopping work and inconveniencing the public, being unsure of political backing in case of such eventualities.

And, so the Bhagya-raaj not only continues, but gets entrenched deeper and deeper too, till we reach bankruptcy, simultaneous with all services falling apart, I guess.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

how genuine is the intent?

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The city, which loses 48% of its water to pilferage and leakage, has replaced old pipes and curbed water theft to bring down the loss by 10% to 15%. "We have reduced 3.5% of water losses in just three years. No other city, including Singapore, has succeeded in reducing the pilferage in such a short span," said Kemparamaiah, engineer-in-chief, Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB). The city has a long way to go as the service level benchmark for non-revenue water or unaccounted wat er is less than 25%.

"We have cut losses from 45% to 28% in Bengaluru south and less than 35% in Bengaluru west but Bengaluru central continues to be problematic as the work of replacing old pipelines is moving slowly due to heavy traffic," Kemparamaiah added.

A 2011 survey had revealed that nearly 49 % of the city's daily supply of 1,350 million litres per day (mld) of water supplied in Bengaluru was unaccounted. Of the 49%, nearly 25% was lost due to leaks in water pipelines, losses in the distribution system. Close to 25% was attributed to commercial losses, illegal connections, tampering of water meters, and non-functioning water meters. In 2012-13, the Karnataka government launched the Rs 700-crore unaccounted-for water project in three of the seven divisions. Under the project, companies had to detect water theft and replace old corroded pipes and household water connections an d meters in the division. Though Bengaluru development minister K J George has now set BWSSB a target to reduce overall water pilferage from 43% to 30% by next year, sources said it is an ambitious deadline as there has been no new investment since 2012.

"The completion of work in Bengaluru south and west has begun to show results. We have to take up new projects. We have detected about three lakh illegal connections and regularized them but there are many more," said a BWSSB official.

For the full text of the report in the ToI, click here.

And, the following are the excerpts from a New Indian Express report that appeared yesterday (for the full text, click here)

A recording of a telephonic conversation between Audit Officer (AO) D Byranna and the Assistant Executive Engineer (AEE) of Bangalore East G D Somashekhar exposes the corruption at various levels in one office resulting in revenue loss running into crores for BWSSB. Remarks made by Byranna reveal that the East-2 Sub-Divisional Office alone caused a loss of Rs 250 crore. This sub-division covers Hoodi, Marathahalli, AECS Layout and surrounding areas. “A similar situation could prevail across many of its sub-divisions across the city, with varying amounts. The clip has revealed the malpractices that took place in just one office. What is even more damaging is that AOs who went to investigate it have now been embroiled in the corruption,” said a top official.

As such, very clearly, just replacing pipes and meters alone will not serve much of a purpose. If there has to be a better level of accountability, there's very little option other than to outsource (not privatise) the entire operation to a reputed private agency, as has been argued here. But, the important question is "is the present dispensation looking for proper solutions, or just looking for some eye-wash with a view to serving their vested interests?"

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