TAMIL NADU

Protests against move to `privatise' water

Staff Reporter

Pasumai Thaayagam stages demonstration in front of water management exhibition venue

TAMBARAM: Members of Pasumai Thaayagam on Thursday staged a brief demonstration outside the premises of Chennai Trade Centre in Nandambakkam, venue of an international exhibition on water management.

The members, led by K. L. Elavazhagan, Pattali Makkal Katchi's Arcot MLA, R. Arul, State secretary and N.Kannan, district coordinator, raised slogans against attempts to privatise water.

The protestors said that nowhere in the world had the problem of water scarcity been solved through privatisation. Instead, they claimed, problems had only worsened, they said, pointing to instances in countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia and Bolivia. They said access to clean and safe water for drinking was still a pressing problem in India. Though international lending agencies and multinational corporations were advocating that privatisation of water resources would put an end to problems of scarcity, it was not the case in reality.

The Pasumai Thaayagam members pointed out that the `water industry' in India was worth about Rs. 18,000 crore and attempts were being made by private agencies to ration supply of water to people. Access to water was a basic human right and handing it over to private players would result in disastrous consequences, they cautioned.

They dispersed after raising slogans for about 10 minutes.