Saturday, December 09, 2006

Court to be Moved against Water Supply Privatisation

Several consumer welfare organisations are preparing to file a case against the government's decision to privatise management of Nepal Water Supply Corporation the drinking water distributing authority in Kathmandu and Pokhara Valley.
Water and Energy Users' Federation-Nepal (WEUF), Federation of Water and Sanitation Users' Nepal (FWSU), Consumers' Protection Forum Nepal and NGO Federation Kathmandu are joining their hands to file a case in the Supreme Court seeking an interim order not to sign any contract which would hand over the nation's asset of Nepal Water Supply Corporation to a foreign manager and slap monopoly on the citizen's basic needs.
Addressing a press conference by the four organisations, yesterday, Ram Chandra Chataut, the chairman of WEUF, had said that the government has no authority to make any contract of long-term impacts as its main task is to hold the election of constituent assembly.
"Next, this contract is totally illegal as it has violated national legal provisions and international conventions on water resources," he said. Similarly, privatisation of any government institution is possible only if it is proved that it is in loss and if when privatization is unavoidable, it should first encourage the staffers to buy share and invite other Nepali businessmen to invest on it.
He also said,"The government is trying to run away from its duty to provide drinking water to its citizens and inviting a foreign party with controversial background."According to him, the consumers must have a chance to discuss on need and probability of privatization of distribution body of drinking water.
Indra Tamang, the member-secretary of FWSU, said that the national conference of the federation has decided to fight against privatization of drinking water system."Asian Development Bank has proposed privatization of water distribution system as a precondition for qualifying for its loan for Melamchi Water Supply Project. ADB is now associated now over 30 small towns in the country and there is a big possibility that it will force the government to privatise all water utility bodies there. All the consumers' will boycott all the ADB-funded projects if water distribution is really privatized," he said.

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