Water, its shortage and the perceived moves for its privatisation, is to be the central theme of the string of agitations being planned by the State CPI(M) from the first week of May. The CPI(M) Kerala State committee, which on Thursday and Friday, has chosen water shortage and privatisation, Centre’s neglect of Kerala, and ‘anti-people’ policies of the UDF government as the three key issues to be highlighted during its agitations that would begin with picketing of taluk offices from May 2 to 5.
Briefing reporters about the deliberations of the committee, CPI(M) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan said branch committees of the party would visit homes and organise people’s conclaves on May 3 and 4 to discuss the issues sought to be raised through the agitation.
Party workers would hold marches at the level of the area committees from May 9 to 16, he said. Kerala, the CPI(M) leader pointed out, faced severe challenges on the water front despite the State receiving an estimated 3,000 mm of rain every year.
The situation was grim in most parts of the State due to the current dry spell. The situation would worsen if the UDF government went ahead with its plans to privatise water distribution through a company modelled after the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL).
The government would have only minority shareholding in the proposed company. This would mean that the private players would take all the crucial decisions regarding water pricing and distribution. The State was currently supplying 1,000 litres of drinking water at Rs.4.20. This would go up to Rs.250 once privatisation becomes a reality. The UDF government had already done much to undo the major efforts made by the LDF to put the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) in a position of strength. With privatisation, it would cease to have any role. The CPI(M) would not allow the government to have its way on this issue, Mr. Vijayan said.
The CPI(M) agitation would also seek to draw public attention to the falling Central investment in the State from 3.1 to 2.6 per cent of the GDP. The State government’s failure to hold the price line and its various ‘anti-people’ policies would also figure in the campaign, the CPI(M) leader said.
(Source : The Hindu)