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Water Board employees oppose privatisation

Special Correspondent

Board wants to prepare a feasibility report to study the pros and cons: MD

Hyderabad: A strike threat and ‘dharna' by Water Works Employees Union on Monday forced the Water Board to drop plans for preparation of a detailed project report for privatisation of services in Division VI.

A large number of employees led by Raj Reddy, Union association president, held a protest demonstration in the Water Board premises at Khairatabad demanding immediate stoppage of the privatisation plan. However, following an assurance by the Board's managing director M. Jagadeeshwar, on not taking further steps in this regard, the union called off the dharna and dropped the proposed strike move. The trouble started with the Board identifying the Division VI comprising S.R. Nagar area for implementation of the public private participation (PPP) initiative. A notification was also issued inviting expression of interest for which ten consultant firms responded.

The Board wanted to make a feasibility report to study the pros and cons of the privatisation plan. But in view of the apprehensions by the employees it is now decided not to pursue the matter for the time being. “There is no need to panic. Job security of every individual employee will be protected. It is only a feasibility report we intend to prepare,” said Mr. Jagadeeshwar. The whole idea is to provide better services, improve revenue collection and check illegal drawing of water. With no recruitment done for past several years the Board is running the show on a skeletal staff. Several posts, including that of 80 engineers, are lying vacant. The new areas it is called on to serve has put further burden on the Board.

The Board wanted to go for the PPP mode in the hope that a private player would be able to turn around its fortunes and plug the revenue deficit of Rs. 8 crore per month.

“There will be no displacement of existing employees. But with the resistance from employees we will refer the matter to the State,” Mr. Jagadeshwar said.

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