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JUSCO Award for water supply to Mysore Citizens

Dear All, particularly Mysore Prajas

Lot of discussions/protests/street shows/VV Water Works employees protests are going on about award of JNNURM funded contract to JUSCO to be executed for ensuring 24X7 water supply to Mysoreans who are badly affected by irregular supply of all types of water at odd hours etc. etc.

Mysore Graahaka Parishath (MGP) in its monthly meeting held on 12th April 09 discussed the JUSCO confusion and it was decided that a 'white paper-like' detailed information must be made available for public consumption through MGP's official "Graahaka Patrike"  so that the FAQs can be answered to the extent possible. 

Accordingly our Member Mr.PM Bhat has succintly brought out an analysed article in our Graahaka Patrike of May 2009.  It not only gives the details but also has posed certain questions that are relevant for the BPL consumers also. - english version available on  The entire contract-700 pages- is also available on
I am bringing this to the notice of all concerned so that it will be better to be well informed for discussing this subject, if included in the agenda, during our ensuing meeting with Mr.Manivannan, Dy.Commr, Mysore.

This JNNURM JUSCO contract is the largest PPP in the country.  The write up is simple and interesting for any such future project in other States.

-Vasanthkumar Mysoremath


murali772's picture

babies and bath water

After reading the summary by Mr Bhat, the only deficiency appears to be wrt the following:

Was the contract kept a secret from the citizens of Mysore?

One of the conditions for receiving JNNURM funds is that citizens should participate in the preparation of the project. Such participation has been absent from the JNNURM projects of Mysore city. The officials show dates on which consultation meetings with the public were held, but we have seen no announcements of these meetings. So, if they were held at all, only friends of the officials must have participated in them. Such meeting can not be termed public meeting

Serious as it is, does it warrant the scrapping of the whole deal? Talk of babies and bath water.

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
zenrainman's picture


 If a full O & M cost recovery mechanism as to be put in place and the per capita consumption was 135 litres (this is per peson) a family of 5 would get an average bill of Rs 102/- and a family of 4 Rs 82?- 

This is from the STUP report and for the year 2024

Assuming a fixed charge of Rs 15 /- and a sanitary cess of Rs 25 /- as in Bangalore, total water and sewerage bill per connection for a family of 5 would be Rs 142/-   and for a family of 4 people Rs 122/-   monthly.

This is less than Rs 5 daily for 675 litres of water. 

Is this reasonable for middle class Mysoreans? Would be interesting to get a feedback.

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

JUSCO assures(?) 24X7 water supply(potable/non-potable?)

Hi Zen

Good to have your views on Praja.  Your observations are fine. Nothing is clear about JUSCO deal, as pointed out by Mr.PMBhat.  You may hear from him soon.

According to the deal, revision of water rates, supply of 24X7 to BPL / slum areas etc., are not within the ambit of JUSCO - these are left to the service provider - Vanivilas Water Works - JUSCO will definitely help itself with a bonus also at the end of the 6th year of operation by quoting that the service provider has not been as dynamic as JUSCO expected.  Can this be the scenario at the end of the deal?

A few other questions are haunting the literate class who will be ultimately made to pay the bills to subsidize free supply of water to BPL/Slums etc.:

(1) Most of the consumers in old city areas have illegal connections and the onus of disconnecting/fixing meters lies with VVWW (JUSCO will fix meters as and when they get the clearance to fix meters) - Will the local goons - Corporators - MLAs who are the beneficiaries of illegal water connection collections keep quiet?

(2) What happens to the permanent employees/daily wages contract laborers before and after the JUSCO deal?

(3) Will it be possible for JUSCO to achieve what VVWW could not achieve for many decades of water supply experience? Why there was failure on the part of the service providers? 

(4) KRS being just 12 kms. away from City of Mysore, has not been the beneficiary of Kaveri water.  Paradox - Kaveri water is supplied to Bengaluru by pumping it - 100 kms - the only city in the world to get water from such a distance.

(5) Will the water proposed to be supplied 24X7 free from bacterial load? Is it the responsibility of JUSCO or VVWW? 

Your views will be appreciated and Mysoreans will be happy to have you attend the scheduled meeting with JUSCO deal as one of the subjects - with DC, Mysore.

-Vasanthkumar Mysoremath

silkboard's picture

cost, quality etc

MVK sir,

Want to ask you before myself or others unload examples. Are you sure about "100 kms - the only city in the world to get water from such a distance." The only city ? :) I would say instead of forcing/asking for Kaveri, Jusco should not be forced to supply or not supply from any source. They should have the freedom, which would come handy for consumers later.

Question - Does Jusco get unconditional exclusivity? Is there any scope for adding another supplier for VVWW later?

"Will it be possible for JUSCO to achieve what VVWW could not achieve for many decades". Thats the whole point isn't it? VVWW could not, so someone else has to be tried.

"Will the local goons - Corporators - MLAs who are the beneficiaries of illegal water connection collections keep quiet?" - with VVWW, they could at least use their "connections" and influence to work over it. Should be tougher with a private entity in place.

On water quality - I am sure there would be an SLA on quality of water between JUSCO and VVWW. But they will promise it till their "handoff or charge points". Should scrutinize the contract to be clear and un-ambiguous on this so that there is no scope for pointing fingers at each other later.

And you didn't get Zenrainman (Vishwanath sir)'s point. He is asking what is the reasonable rate that middle class Mysoreans would be 'okay' to pay for water? Whether VVWW collects the money or Jusco - these rates would eventually determine everyone's share down the supply chain.

zenrainman's picture

Questions in the deal- VKMM

Dear VKMM Sir,

I'm a Mysorean by birth and heart. Krishnamurthypuram and Vidyaranyapuram being my haunt. GTR dose the best dose in the world and NIE my Alma mater :):) You can take a person out of Mysore but not Mysore from that person. 

But to get to matters at discussion and your question

 (1) Most of the consumers in old city areas have illegal connections and the onus of disconnecting/fixing meters lies with VVWW (JUSCO will fix meters as and when they get the clearance to fix meters) - Will the local goons - Corporators - MLAs who are the beneficiaries of illegal water connection collections keep quiet?

It is not right to club oons/corporators/MLA's. Leave out the goons , they need to be dealt with as a law and order situation.   The Corporators/MLA's represent political interests of a particular ward or constituency.   Now better service 'demonstrated' is the only way to get the basic condition right for people to pay to run the system. Then follows the instituional mechanism to make it so.

I think a regulatory mechanism will need to come into place such as the Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Council as is bein proposed by the KUWS&DB or atlast an ombudsman. 

2) What about the workers?

For sure they will need to be retained and retrained. With an increase in the number of connections there will always be place for the workforce but one will have to be clear whether this is a water suply scheme or NUEGA

3) Would it be possible for JUSCO to provide ... why was there failure earlier?

Unfortunately it has to do with the governance deterioration - both political and institutional. We have the technical capacity, as is demonstrated by the fact that the Mysore water supply scheme is from 1896,  but how do we run institutions with a 40 year vision and a vision for ALL rather than on a 5 year for my ward vision? We will need to answer this governance question through partly Civil Society groups like the Mysore Grahakara Parishad but mostly through political engagement.

Reform is needed for VVWW/KUWSDB and MCC as much as is the introduction of the likes of JUSCO and this should not be forgotten. The entry of a private player mkes the role of the public player MORE important though different in nature, this needs to be strenghtened with capacity building for the new role.

4) KRS .... reaches Bangalore not Mysore?

Well actually the Kabini and the Cauvery are part of the Cauvery basin and the truth is that it is the Kabini which surpluses the most so Bangalore too gets most of its water from the Kabini though it is called the Cauvery w/s scheme. 

The bigger question is when do we get a basin management institution to manage and allocate waters from the ENTIRE cauvery system? Why do we not plan for the portion WITHIN kKarnataka? We will need to do that and work on NESTED institutions which arm and support each other with information and planning tools to ensure water.

5) On water quality?

In India NO water provider is legally mandated to deliver water of A  particular quality except those who supply packaged water. BIS 10500 the drinkin water quality i simply a standard not legally nforceable. This needs to be rectified globally but definitely ith the JUSCO deal there should be an insistence on meeting BIS 10500 at delivery point. 

It is great that documents are now cooming in the public domain and that the MGP is taking the lead in creating and 'informed' debate because gnerally fear mongering is more populist.

It woul be important to know how the interests of the poor will be protected in the Mysore scheme and the nature of a pro-poor approach . This needs to be fleshed out by the MCC .

Two huge gaps in the scheme of things now

- sanitation-sewerage and waste water management

- groundwater   

If these are not managed there will be costs to pay but if managed water can become more accessible and cheaper.


Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Autopsy of JUSCO deal..

Hi All,

Was contract kept secret?  Authorities will never agree - they will show some small item in a newspaper and say - look we had advertised for public consumption that the entire contract of 700 pages is available in some office and people can come and have a look at it and raise objections - which our citizens won't be interested at all, except a few -? - Now it is on the net and also made available in physical form to a few like MGP/ACICM who are rising comments.

scraping the deal?  Depends upon how much money has been released so far and progress of the works carried out - but details are not forthcoming except for the fact that some statistical information is being issued periodically by JNNURM officials about the progress....  If the deal is only for laying pipes, build overhead tanks, fix meters and charges for software/management aspects for making the existing workers work for bettering the supply system, then it is anybody's guess whether Rs.195 crores is worth or not.

- While talking about 'progress' JNNURM is also building huge monstrous concrete malls akin to BMTC Shantinagar/Mysore Road complexes - except ground floor, the rest of the building is for commercial purpose and for earning some lucre to add to the bottom line etc.  In Mysore it is done in the name of providing better transport system and comfort for commuters without concern for the heritage value of the Heritage City - a city of palaces - No public consultation about designs of buildings/infrastructure etc.

- Similarly, preservation of heritage buildings/palaces/Gopuras/ Raja Dwaras etc., etc., are being done on a selective basis whereas real value based heritage sites/monuments are neglected.

Back to JUSCO -

SB / Zen - cost factor - No one will grudge paying a few chips extra if they can really get better quality and quantity of water.  Yes Rs.5 for 675 litres of good water is a welcome rate for any concerned citizen who knows how things are becoming difficult to live.

Zen - The deal does not mention anything about Sanitation/Sewerage disposal. That will become a big headache at a later date even though cess etc., are included in the water bill.

- Groundwater - quality and quantity assurance is the business of VVWW as also fixing increase/decrease of water rate as also fixing water meter, provided VVWW identifies and issues some sort of green signal to JUSCO - getting the muck for such decision will be the prerogative of the VVWW officials/local........ etc.

SB  - 100 kms. to B'lore city? - Approx distance - it is end to end of Kaveri supply/receiving stages - OK have a few more kms.

- Vasanth Mysoremath

murali772's picture

Recent exchanges on the subject on HU Y-group

Leo Saldanha wrote:
I don;t for a minute doubt Mr. Manivannan's integrity. I have known him before as Mem Sec of KSPCB. But I also do know that about 40,000 people have signed a petition against a decision of which he has been a key part. This has to do with the privatisation of water in Mysore. This is a non-trivial issue.

I responded with:
Even the newspaper report posted on this group by Vinay Baindur about a month back had mentioned that most of the 40,000 signatures were collected from semi-literates who had no idea what the petition was all about.

Mr P M Bhat, a member of Mysore Grahakara Parishad, has written a blog on the subject, and the matter has been discussed at length on PRAJA. It may be accessed  here.

I would specifically like to invite you to read the post made by our own water expert, Mr Viswanath -  here.

This privatisation talk is essentially a bogie created by vested interests. It can at best be termed out-sourcing of piped water supply. And, in my opinion, it's all for the better.


Vinay Baindur butted in, and I resonded to him as interposed below in italics:
I was just fwding the Star of Mysore article so please contact them for authenticity.

Star of Mysore captioned it in typical tabloid form. But, their raising doubts about whether the people who were signing the petition knew what it was all about, was quite uncharacteristic of them. Perhaps they are also learning!

The people who ran the campaign were from different educated professional groups including enggrs and all the info is also available.

Mysore Grahakara Parishad is arguably Mysore's foremost think-tank. And, Mr Bhat's report is on their official web-site. And, there are no contrary views expressed so far. The link to the contract document is available on PRAJA, and it is after studying it that Mr Viswanath has posted his comments.

Some people from MGP are spreading misinformation and you can all decide if thats true.

Spreading misinformation is perhaps not the monopoly of 'some' members of MGP.

By the way some people also see us environmentalists as vested interests anything wrong with that ?

and will JUSCO and Veolia not be vested interests?

If business interests coincide with overall public interest, it is no longer a vested interest.

Followed by this between Leo and me:
I believe 'illliterate' people are knowledgeable, more so sometimes than educated literates. It is the literate knowledgeable people who have reduced the planet to the mess it is now. My grandfather was illiterate, but taught me the value of good living, honest living and organic farming. I hope you get the point, and I will rest my case on this.

I got your point; but, I don't understand the context. During grandfathers' times there were no fertilisers anyway. And, not just my grandfather, my father too, taught me a lot of good values. I try to do that to my children too, though I am not claiming to be an angel or anything like that.

As for Vishwanath, I know him for long, and he is a water "expert" no doubt. Not mine though. How could you presumed that? I respect Vishwanath's work, but he would also in all humility agree he has a lot to learn still..

May be HU members would like to know more about his work (check: http://rainwaterhar, and form their own opinions. Yes, there's no limit to what anyone can learn.

I don;t know P M Bhat. But I do know that Maj Gen Vombatkere, PVSM (Retd., sorry don't know how it is to be cited) has actively worked against privatisation of water, and is also part of MGP! So let's not be selectively pulling out names that suit our bias.

Mr Bhat has placed his comments on MGP's official web-site. Nobody has added any contrary views so far. Perhaps the others have also got enlightened.

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Will all be well that "ends in the borewell?"

Dear All

Amidst all concerns being expressed by Media, VVWW Employees Assn, MGP, ACICM and a host of citizens, the final decision on JUSCO deal is being extensively discussed by the Regl.Commissioner who is in charge of JNNURM projects and some sort of move will be made because there is no meaning in keeping on pulling or pushing till they break and it will be the citizens loss and JNNURM funds will remain unutilised.

Mr.Bhat and MGP colleagues appears to have gone through the voluminous contract and found that JUSCO deal could be a viable proposition. 

Mr.Bhat has also raised pertinent questions on certain important points - they need to be looked into.

This final decision could have been announced long back but for citizens concerns in large numbers that kept them postponing the announcement. 

Will all be well that ends 'in the borewell'!!!

-Vasanth Mysoremath

Mani1972's picture

My letter about the JUSCO project...

1.    Is 24x7 water supply really required and is it technically possible?

2.    Does it involve ‘Privatization’? Who is opposing this and why?

3.    Will there be increase in the water tariff after the project?

 Let us address the issues one by one.

 1.  Whether we need 24x7 water supply? Is that technically feasible?

 Five years back, in 2004, when I joined Hubli-Dharwad Municipal Corporation as the Commissioner, I also thought that, there is no need for 24X7 water supply, and it is sufficient to get water regularly for 2-3 hours every day.


But, later I learnt that 24X7 water supply not only makes it convenient for the people to use water at any time, but also ensures that:

1.   Water is not wasted.

2.   Water is not contaminated

3. It empowers the women folk to have freedom of choice.

 How is it possible?!

 Normally we all will think that, with 24x7 supply the wastage will be more. Interestingly, the answer is ‘no’ because, when water is supplied for 2-3 hours in a day and not regularly, we all tend to store water more than what is actually required.

 For example, if your house requires 3 buckets of water, your mom will store water in all 5 buckets, because, she is not sure when water will come next, and when it comes, it may be less than 3 buckets! Next day, when fresh water comes, she will empty the surplus water stored and again fill the fresh water. This is a repetitive feature in every house and every day. With more than 2.1 lakh homes (2001 census) in the MCC limits, is it not a colossal wastage of water?!

 If water is made available round the clock in the pipe line, nobody will store the water and will only use as much as required as there will be meter. Then the wastage of the water will drastically come down. This has been proved in Belgaum, Hubli & Dharwad, where water is being supplied round the clock

 Next is about contamination. When water is supplied for 2-3 hours in a day, during rest of the time, the pipe line is empty, and it allows the outside ground water to seep inside, thus contaminating it. In 24X7, there is always water inside the pipeline under positive pressure and thus it does not allow any seepage inside the pipe. Thus, 24X7 water supply avoids contamination. It will make water much safer than what it is now.

 Coming to technical feasibility, it is now a foregone conclusion that, 24x7 water supply is very much possible everywhere.  Most of the cities abroad have 24X7 water supply and in India, Jamshedpur has it. Even in Karnataka, parts of Belgaum and Hubli- Dharwad have round the clock water supply.

 2.  Is there any privatization involved? Why there is opposition?

 Interestingly, and contrary to the claims made by many, there is absolutely NO privatization in it! Let us see, how.

 Privatization involves any of the following conditions.

1.   Transfer of assets and infrastructure from the government to the private company, on permanent basis or long term of 30 years and above.

2.   Freedom to the agency in fixing the charges (tariff).

3.   Freedom to manage its affairs, including the staff.

 Now, in the JUSCO project, none of the three are true! The assets will always be under the ownership of MCC and KUWSDB (Sec. 3.2.4 of the Contract) and will be only maintained by JUSCO and that too for a limited period of 6 years. There is no freedom to fix the tariff. Tariff is fixed by, ONLY by the MCC. The staff of VVWW, who will work under the supervision of JUSCO, will remain under the control of MCC/KUWSDB. Where is privatization in this?!

 If so, why there is so much talk of Privatization and opposition?! Three reasons may be there. One, the some of the NGOs and prominent citizens, strongly feel that they must have been consulted and taken into confidence before the agreement was signed. Their feelings are understandable. But the lapse is just an oversight, and not intentional. After all, is not the Municipal council representative of the citizens?

I suggest that we may go for an ‘advisory committee’ involving concerned citizens, which will work along with the project. What we require now is proper implementation of the project. Such a committee will go a long way in ensuring quality work, and avoid delays. 

 The second reason is based on ideology. There are people who have strong negative views on anything that are managed by private persons. (Even, I was like that when I was in the college!). Regarding ideologies, nothing much can be done by arguing, unless the moment of reckoning comes!

 The third and not the least are from the vested interests. They are none other than the lobby comprising of ‘the powerful’ who influence the VVWW and ensure illegal connections (20,000 illegal connections as per the records of VVWW itself!), who don’t pay for the water they consume. Naturally they will oppose any transparent and efficient project that will put an end to such brazen illegalities.

 These groups are joined by some of the temporary employees of VVWW, if not all. Yes, there are hundreds of temporary employees in VVWW, who were inducted 10 -15 years back, thru the backdoor, in violation of all norms and procedures. They have been demanding that they should be made permanent. But the government is unable to do so, as it can’t legalise such blatant violations.

 The government has not sacked them on humanitarian grounds. Their conditions of wages etc are matter of litigation before the courts. Now they are trying to use this opportunity to arm twist the government to settle their issues! At worst, they want to maintain status quo and don’t want to get exposed by the transparency that JUSCO will bring about.

 3.  Will there be increase in water tariff?

As mentioned already, JUSCO has absolutely no control in fixing the tariff. Tariff will be decided by the MCC. Even one rupee increase can be done only by the MCC council! Needless to say, a popularly elected council will think twice before increasing the tariff. Thus, the tariff may remain the same, but those who are paying less due to faulty meters will be paying for what they are consuming. And many, who were not paying anything, will have to pay, except the poor who will continue to get water from public taps.

Thus the project will change the things for good.  There is nothing worthwhile to oppose the project. The tender process has been done in a transparent way. 12 companies participated, and JUSCO won the bid as it quoted the lowest. The agreement is available in the website. MGP has gone thru and given its comments too. The project is funded to 80% by the central government, and 10% by the state government. Mysore may never get so much money to overhaul the water supply system.

 The project will bring in professionalism and efficiency; build the capacity of VVWW. (So that VVWW takes over the operations, after JUSCO leaves.) Such professionalism will benefit the citizens in long run, as it will reduce corruption, and increase the efficiency of the system. It is an opportunity the city should not miss. Citizens should move ahead with the project and ensure that it is implemented properly.

 Warm regards and best wishes,

 Manivannan, P.




Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Most of the doubts cleared..time for citizens to take decision

Mani Sir

Your letter clearing the doubts is most welcome and all those who consider themselves as responsible citizens would now have to agree that justification for allowing JUSCO to manage 24X7 exists without any hidden agenda.  Mysoreans should not get confused with all the game plans in the hands of a few vested interests who have their own hidden agenda for opposing the deal.

24X7 water is dream of every housewife who is the most harassed member of our society and with all the difficulty she is managing the show.  Men were being made to get up at unearthly hours to fill a few pots of water and some have been seen sleeping next to the taps for fear of loosing those precious pots of water.]

Which is better? We have had bitter experiences with VVWW, cringing, begging, cajoling, threatening, fighting, criticizing, passing cynical and sadistic remarks etc., etc.  If all this can be a thing of the past, Let JUSCO do it and let the authorities take the responsibility of making it happen.  If something good can happen, why not?  We have seen worst possible days earlier and street brawls have been common and ended up in police stations with bloodshed etc.  

Even if the JUSCO deal ends up with 4X7 also, Mysoreans should be grateful.  Time to put a seal of acceptance and let the work go on smoothly.  Let us not fight the future wars on water issues.  It is categorically learnt that water quality will be good, no revision of tariff and other plus points for the sake of citizens.

- Vasanthkumar Mysoremath  



murali772's picture

go ahead, Sir!

Thanks for that clarification, Mani Sir! You listing of the reasons for the opposition is also pretty accurate.

One major benefit to the consumer, out of 24x7 supply, you have missed listing out is the savings on investment and maintenance of sump/ pump/ over-head tank combo. And, that's no small sum at today's costs. So, when you talk of the vested interests, this is perhaps another business lobby, apart from the tanker-water supplier, and borewell sinker lobbies, that's going to be affected, and therefore engineering the agitation.

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?

After this clarification (which perhaps has to be broadcast to wider sections of the public), I can't see any need to hold back the commencement of the work any longer. If any one is still collecting signatures on petitions, etc, perhaps I can start a counter petition, and I am sure many of the PRAJAgalu will come forward to sign it.

Another thought that strikes me is that if such clear reasoning had been placed before the public earlier, would the vested interests even have had a chance to counter the proposal? Even if they did, would their efforts have managed to gather the kind of momentum it seems to have done presently, leading to the avoidable delays and consequent costs? Surely, not!

The lesson clearly is transparency and more transparency. Sir, hopefully between PRAJA and you, we are setting an example here for others to emulate in future.   

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
shamalakittane's picture

Information privatised ?


Sorry, if i have missed this in the discussion above.

If its a government agency, we have RTI to get the information we need.

Now how does it work with private agencies ? How do i go about getting the info i need from a private agency ?


murali772's picture

the question does not arise

Hi Shamala

The question does not arise here at all.

Even in the case of the 'private' BIAL, the courts have ruled that the provisions of the RTI Act shall apply, since the government was holding 'substantial' stake (even if not majority) in it.

As compared to that, the ownership here is totally with the government, as Mr Manivannan has confirmed.

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

All papers are available for the asking...majority rule counts..

shamalakittane avare,

Shamalakittane avare

I don't think there is any need for an RTI intervention.  All papers are available for the asking and enough discussions, arguments, counter arguments, protests etc., have been initiated.

Since we are governed by a democratic process, decision of the majority  does count and since JUSCO deal meant to relief the citizens of a perenial problem appears to be a good class action  service that would lead to making the citizens get relieved from the most hapazard service being provided by VVWW, let it be done. 

There is always a democratic system of weeding out the bad and establishing a new order or going back to a refined old order in the light of the failures.  India has been found wanting when it comes to the question of introduction of a radical movement due to the inability of officials at the implementation stage - last mile approach -  and we have thousands of such experiments in the past.  Narcissism should not be allowed to rise its ugly head.

Time to bring in a change if it found to be better.  

I support the JUSCO deal 

- Life can be beautiful and water is the elixir of life and its supply can also be beneficial(conditions apply).

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