JAMSHEDPUR, India — In central India lies a town whose utilities are a ‘steel’ so to speak. Thanks to industrial magnate Tata Steel, residents of Jamshedpur can get their water straight from their family faucet through Jamshedpur Utilities and Services Company (JUSCO). Now JUSCO wants to take its efficient but privatized supply to the next level, picking up on water delivery where the government has failed.
The proposal, however, is not without controversy. Placing a fee on a resource commonly considered free inspires concern. Civil society worries that those without a steady source of income may not be able to afford the privatized water. Private sector experts point out that the poor are already paying for amenities such as cable television.
JUSCO believes that Indian residents can have access to clean, safe water without depending on outside consultants. “We wanted to show India that it is possible, without having to pay expensive, foreign companies, to provide safe drinking water straight from the tap at lower cost,” Sanjiv Paul, managing director of JUSCO, told civil society news agency IPS.
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