Meet on water policy begins


NEW DELHI: The Jal Biradri, a group of people engaged in water conservation, will discuss the proposed new water policy at a two-day convention beginning in Delhi from Tuesday. The new policy is likely to be tabled in Parliament on March 16.

Magasaysav award winner Rajendra Singh has called this convention a "mahapanchayat", in which union minister of state for water resources Biloya Chakravarti will have an open house discussion with delegates from all over the country. The convention has been organised under the aegis of Tarun Bharat Sangh. Rajendra Singh said every citizen has an equal right on water and before the Water Act comes into force, there was need to discuss the policy relating to water and its use.

"The users of water should replenish the same amount taken from natural sources: Water is nature’s gift to mankind. It is priceless and it should be conserved. All efforts to privatise water or make it a tradable commodity should be pre-vented. The 73rd and 74th amendments of the Constitution were brought about to empower the panchayats to manage water sources. But the proposed water policy is against the provision of the Constitution and is focused to make water a preserve of the Centre," said Rajendra Singh.

He also criticised the Centre’s move to make water a Central subject as then multinational companies would force the government to privatise water sources, making it inaccessible to the poor. Rajendra Singh said for the first time, an effort had been made to hold an open house on the rights of citizens on water, in which experts from all walks of life would speak.