Friday, April 18, 2008

11. REFLECTION. Guaranteeing Potable Water!

Unlike the stock market indices, imagination can be taken to any height.

So, let’s imagine a world where all fresh water will be available in a bottle. While many will fume at this proposition, several others will concur that indeed we are not far from this possibility. Though there isn’t any evidence, it is likely that leading beverage giants have business plans ready.

Isn’t fresh water in short supply and municipal supplies in utter disarray? Tap water is a luxury for the teeming millions. To uphold people’s constitutional right to water, let there be a demand for a national potable water guarantee scheme (with reference to India). Unlike a mere 100 days of guaranteed employment under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), the present proposal seeks uninterrupted access to potable water for every citizen, 24x7.

The phenomenal reach of bottled water alone can guarantee this right. Isn’t bottled water available in plenty even where taps run dry for the better part of the year? That’s because there is a class that can easily afford it. But its unrestricted reach, albeit to those who can afford it, absolves the government of its primary duty of providing potable water. The poor are often left to fend for themselves in a Darwinian struggle along the urban fringes and in far-flung villages....more

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