High and dry

Water rights being diluted in Sri Lanka?

By Feizal Samath
Published: Monday 15 December 2003

experts and activists are apprehensive that the Sri Lankan authorities' recent bid to privatise water services will impinge on the people's right to clean drinking water. While non-governmental organisation Alliance for the Protection of National Resources and Human Rights (apnrhr) voiced its concern over the matter, the Lawyers for Human Rights and Development (lhrd) group filed a petition in the Supreme Court.

It was in October that the government tabled amendments to the Sanitary Water Supply and Distribution Act in parliament. The modified bill is due to be debated soon. The Supreme Court has, meanwhile, directed that the proposed legislation must get the approval of all provincial councils before being approved by parliament.

apnrhr coordinator Sarath Ferna-ndo fears that changes in the act would lead to privatisation through the back door. Not only will many people be denied access to tap water, they would be plunged deeper into poverty too.

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