While Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant has sought three months time to reduce the pricing of the raw water to industries, the industrial estates are demanding better water supply infrastructure. VIKANT SAHAY takes a look as some of the industrial estates who want improvement in the infrastructure for water supply
In the recent ‘Maan Ki Baat’ broadcast, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi stressed on availability, quality, equitable and proper distribution of water and said that his government in next five years will lay special attention to achieve this. Even though there are nearly five rivers in the State, we still see water tankers and bore wells. The problem is further accentuated when it comes to the raw (industrial) water supply to the industries and in the speed in which government decisions are taken to provide them at a reasonable cost.
Last year in April during a press conference the President of the Verna Industria Estate, Damodar Kochkar had mentioned that, “At the inauguration of the raw water distribution plant on November 1, 2017, it was promised that our industrial estate will be getting raw water at the rate of Rs 10 per cubic meter (1000 cubic meter is equal to one MLD) and now suddenly GIDC sent us a notice that water will be charged at the rate of Rs 25 per cubic meter from the date of installation or inauguration that is November 1. If you are in business and the March end is over, how can you ask us to pay ‘previous bills’ at revised rate?” Verna industrial estate which has about 471 companies, require 10 MLD water per day.
Following this, in June last year, the then Chief Minister of Goa, Manohar Parrikar in his message to the 54th AGM of Goa State Industrial Association (GSIA) had said, “Regarding the Raw Water Supply rate to Verna, where I understand there are some apprehensions, I would like to assure you that the Government will keep its promise regarding the rates of Rs 10 per cubic meter in raw water supply.”
The problem is still persisting but on a plea by the newly elected president of Goa State Industries Association (GSIA), Damodar Kochkar, the Chief Minister, Dr Pramod Sawant while addressing a gathering at the AGM of the GSIA, about a week back, promised that in next three months the price of raw water supplied to the industries will be brought down from Rs 25 a litre to Rs 10 as it was committed by former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.
“What the ex-CM had promised will definitely be adhered to. Give me three months and I will ensure that you will start getting raw water at Rs 10 instead of Rs 25 per cubic liter which you are getting now. We are also working on single window clearance and ease of doing business. I agree there are problems but we will sit together with all the departments and in another three months we will try to resolve all these issues,” added Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant.
Verna Industrial Estate requires water 10mld of water per day out of which only around one mld the Industrial Development Corporation is able to get it from the Public Works Department (PWD) and this is potable water and the rest of the water is being supplied by pipeline from Salaulim.
“The water supply is sufficient and it almost covers the Verna Industrial Estate requirement. The new plant which was installed in November 2017 has a capacity to supply 30 mld of which 10 mld goes to Zuari. The issue is about developing infrastructure for supplying water and rates now,” Kochkar said.
In the past some industries used to draw water from the bore well and from neighbouring villages or take the help of water tankers. “Bore well water rate is Rs 6 and Rs 2 (in monsoon) per cubic meter liters of water. If we are charged Rs 25 then people will naturally be inclined to get it cheaper from elsewhere,” added Kochkar. Majority of the water is used by industries which are into production of pharmaceuticals and beverages.
Mayur Dhume, Coordinator from Pilern Industrial Estate said, “Pilern is a very small industrial estate as compared to Verna. Unfortunately what has happened in Pilern is that a large portion of this estate is now dominated by these marble traders by claiming themselves as manufacturers but they are using this for trading activities. As far as data on water is concerned, we have yet to collect it.”
President of Thivim Industrial Estate, Pushkar Kotnis said, “Supply of quality and continuity of water is more important than the rates. Normally in Thivim there is no issue with the supply of water but power is an issue. However, the most important thing that the government should address is the quality of infrastructure for the supply of water. Pipelines have been laid under the ground in a very haphazard way and accessibility to the valve is via pit which is difficult to reach when the pit is full of mud and water. This is more difficult when there is an emergency like a pipeline burst and lot of water is wasted. As far as pricing is concerned, I personally believe that water is precious and they should not reduce the rate.”