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Posted at: Sep 23, 2015, 1:04 AM; last updated: Sep 23, 2015, 1:04 AM (IST)BIZ TALK

$45 bn needed for water supply management: Vishvaraj Infra

$45 bn needed for water supply management:  Vishvaraj Infra
Arun Lakhani

Several states and cities are moving towards public private partnership (PPP) model in water supply and waste water treatment.  Arun Lakhani, MD & Chairman, Vishvaraj Infrastructure, talks about their plans in Punjab and Haryana for waste water reuse and water supply to cities like Panchkula, Gurgaon, Faridabad and Karnal.

 
Q: Tell us about your plans in Haryana and Punjab for water supply system.
A: Efficiency in water management systems, waste water treatment and reuse are issues of national interest. Latest NASA imaging has revealed the extent of groundwater depletion just below the agricultural belt of India, primarily Punjab and Haryana. We have been presenting and discussing waste water reuse proposal through PPP across Haryana. 
We also had presentations about bringing efficiency in water supply through 24X7 pressurised water supply and metering to cities like Panchkula, Gurgaon, Faridabad, Karnal among others.
 
Q: How can the PPP model be enhanced in the water sector?
A: Announcement of Smart cities and AMRUT schemes will give the required boost to initiatives but significant amount of private capital is inevitable. As per estimates, approximately $45 billion would be required.
Water sector PPPs are in early stage and face severe challenges like non-availability of base line data, no earlier precedence, willingness to charge, revenue collection risk and revenue security from the client side, tariff revision to meet standard operating costs etc.
 
Q: What are the issues that obstruct private participation in the sector and what reforms are needed?
A: In the water sector, PPP has not seen much growth in the past few years. For water PPPs to be successful, it needs strong political and administrative will to implement the project and more importantly it is the involvement of “The People” that can make it truly happen.
The biggest stumbling blocks in PPP sector is the financial risk mitigation. For this, a structured financial system should be instituted to mobilise the funding of urban local bodies that will empower them financially through channelised revenue streams.
Q: Tell us about the company’s Nagpur 24X7 water supply scheme being chosen “National Best Practice through PPP model.”
A: Our Nagpur 24x7 project was a challenging and exciting experience for us, through which we have achieved a cornerstone position in the water management space of India under the PPP arrangement.
The company has strengthened its business footing in the water sector for future growth and is expanding its portfolio in other parts of the country. 
 
Q: How does the company plan to expand to other cities and what is the model?
A: We have recently taken up a 200 MLD Waste Water Treatment & Reuse Project in Nagpur. The treated water from the STP will be given to industries and thermal power plant nearby thereby releasing fresh water reservation of thermal plants on the same source which also supplies water to the city.
We have been pursuing similar opportunities with many others states like Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Delhi in the North through Swiss Challenge and PPP route.
We are also participating both under EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) and PPP mode for water and waste water segments across states like Karnataka, Rajasthan, Haryana, Maharashtra, MP, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal, and West Bengal and Punjab.
In addition, we have also been closely monitoring development of the Ganga Rejuvenation Plan and will participate on all projects related to same. On the waste water front we think that the market will develop under “Reuse” model.
 
Arun Lakhani, Chairman, Vishvaraj Infrastructure  talks to Sanjeev Sharma 

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