Alternatives to water privatisation in JNNURM ?

MoU signed for water supply, sewerage schemes Staff Reporter

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed on Thursday between the Local Self-Government (LSG) Department, the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) and two city corporations and two municipal councils to ‘redefine institutional arrangements and accountability mechanisms’ for the service delivery of water supply and sewerage projects under three externally-funded programmes.

The MoU was signed by LSG Principal Secretary S.M. Vijayanand, KWA Managing Director Suresh Babu, the Mayors of Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi and the municipal chairpersons of Payyannur and Alappuzha in the presence of Finance Minister T. M. Thomas Isaac and Water Resources Minister N.K. Premachandran.

The MoU will be applicable for the water supply and the sewerage schemes under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), the Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns (UIDSSMT) and the Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Project (KSUDP).

The MoU, in effect, hands over to the corporations and the municipal councils near-total control over water supply and sewerage schemes. The local bodies shall be the ‘principal contracting authority of the MoU and will be responsible for prioritisation, planning and facilitation of approval’ of the schemes.

They will also be responsible for assigning work to the KWA, deciding on financial matters, setting performance targets and determining levels of service for water supply and sewerage schemes. The assets created under such schemes shall also be placed under the local bodies.

It will also be the task of the local bodies to contract consultants to provide ‘design and supervisory support’ for KSUDP projects. These consultants are expected to work in close coordination and under the supervision of the KWA.
Technical assistance

The Authority will be principal agency to provide technical services to the local bodies.

This includes the design and preparation of projects, tender documents, implementation of work and operation and maintenance of water supply and sewerage schemes under the JNNURM/ UIDSSMT.

The Kerala Water Authority will also set up a Project Implementation Unit (PIU) that shall report to the local body concerned.

The LSG Department shall set the policy framework and facilitate flow of funds including subsidies and decide on tariff-related issues.

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Filed under JNNURM, Privatisation of Municipal Services, Urban reforms Agenda

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