Nepal Today

Friday, June 28, 2013

WATER SHORTAGE HITS CAPITAL Kathmandu, 29 June: With private water suppliers bringing water supply in the Kathmandu valley to a complete halt, the city has started reeling under an acute shortage of drinking water, Sanjeev Giri writes in The Kathmandu Post.. A large section of valley denizens, who are compelled to survive on water supplied by the private firms, were on Friday seen struggling even to meet their daily needs. Educational institutions, hospitals and offices were not faring well either. Saying that the government remained apathetic to their demands, private water suppliers on Thursday cut off the supplies in the Valley for an indefinite period. Private water suppliers have completely stopped production and distribution of drinking water that was available in 20-litre and 1-litre bottles and halted supplies through tankers. Against the average daily demand of 370 million litres of water in the Valley, the Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited (KUKL) has been supplying just 140 million litres. Private firms claim that their supplies from tankers account to around 90 million litres a day. One Uttam Giri of New Baneshwor said his family has been drinking water from the tube well since Thursday evening. Many others in his area are doing the same, he said.Surendra Dhakal, a retailer at Dhapasi, said 50 percent of his customers looking for jar water had to return empty handed. “Since we keep a limited stock, we are selling the jars only to our regular customers,” he said, adding that the stock in his store is likely to deplete by Friday evening. “We were compelled to come up with this stern move, as the government turned a deaf ear to our demands,” said Dharmananda Shrestha, president of the Nepal Bottled Water Industries Association (NBWIA). “If the government fails to react by Sunday, we will stop water supply throughout the country.” Five associations concerned—Valley Drinking Water Source and Tanker Entrepreneurs’ Association, Nepal Bottled Water Industries Association, Valley Drinking Water Tanker and Boring Entrepreneurs’ Association, All Nepal Transport Workers Association and an independent drinking water supply firm are protesting since June 9. They have submitted a 20-point charter of demands to the government, which includes resumption of closed borewells and drinking water supply industries, renewal of their licences, formation of a monitoring team to inspect the quality of water supplied by private suppliers, systematic management of the existing water industries and implementation of a single-tax rate mechanism. The private firms had been supplying 120,000 units of 20-litre water jars and 100 million litres through over 700 tankers every day. According to the NBWIA, there are around 200 businesses involved in the business in the Valley. “We have invested millions in this sector. Entrepreneurs, too, are losing around Rs 10 million every day,” Shrestha said. Spokesperson of the Kathmandu Valley Water Supply Management Board, Yogendra Bom, said they have urged the suppliers to come for talks. “We are hopeful that the issue will be resolved by Saturday,” he said. nnnn


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