Funds denied

Published: Wednesday 15 March 2000

maharashtra's urban and rural water supply policy has cost it overseas assistance to the tune of Rs 13,000 crore over the last two years.

The situation is the culmination of the government's refusal to change the "ill-planned and contractor-based water schemes" which resulted in denial of aid by project managers of the World Bank's Water and Sanitation Programme ( wsp ). This directly affects around half the state's population, official sources admitted. Nine urban water schemes worth Rs 8,938 crore and ten rural schemes worth Rs 4,275 crore proposed by the government have been affected by this decision.

The wsp, an international partnership funded by 15 European countries, aims to support sustainable water and sanitation projects in the poorer nations. Talks between the state government and wsp' s India Country Team were abruptly suspended in November 1999 after the former rejected the reforms suggested by the Union government in May the same year.

Another donor, the British Department for International Development ( dfid ) has also refused funds to the Maharashtra government. According to a senior Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party functionary the dfid has "pointed to the poor implementation of the ground water legislation, besides questioning the unsustainable large piped water scheme initiated by vested interests in the water board. They are also keen to know if the political leadership has the will to charge.

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