Company : This refers to a form of business established by people or the government.
Private company : A company established and run by persons or group of persons. For example, Tata Steel.
Basic needs : This refers to the primary requirements such as water, food, clothing, sanitation, education and healthcare.
Universal access : This is achieved when every individual has access to a commodity and can also afford it.
Sanitation : Facility of safe and hygienic disposal of human excreta and urine.
Right to Life : The Constitution of India guarantees it for all persons living in this country.
Primary requirements like food, water, shelter, sanitation, healthcare, education, etc. which are necessary for survival are referred to as public facilities.
The important characteristic of public facilities is that the benefits provided by public facilities can be shared by many people. For example: a school in a village will enable many children to get education.
Private companies mainly operate to earn profits throughout the world. Water supply is among one of the public facility under Right to Water Act, according to UN. These private companies would provide water supplies but at a higher price, which people of all classes would not be able to afford. The private Companies perform their activities to get profit from their investment. By providing public facilities to common man, private companies will not get any profit.
While there is a no doubt that public facilities should be made available to all, in reality, we see that there is a great shortage of such facilities:
(i) The burden of shortfalls of facilities falls mostly on the poor.
(ii) The middle class when faced with such shortage are able to cope through variety of private means.
(iii) It is quite true that people who can not afford to pay for such facilities, will be deprived of the opportunity to live a decent life.
For Example : (i) Mr. Ramagopal who is a rich man lives in Anna Nagar, Chennai. This area looks lush and green with lawns maintained by a generous spraying of water. Bungalows here have tap water for major part of the day.
(ii) Whereas, Sive, who lives on rent in Madipakkam, gets water only once in four days.
Water a part of Fundamental Right to Life
(i) The Constitution of India recognised the right to water as being right to life as a part under Article 21.
(ii) This means that it is the right of every person, whether rich or poor to have sufficient amount of water to fulfil daily needs at a price they can afford.
(iii) There should be “universal access” to water.
The UN statement regarding water is that- “Right to water entitles everyone to sufficient, safe, to acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic use”.
Porto Alegre is a city in Brazil. It has lowest infant death rate than other cities of the world because of the availability of safe water maintained by city water department. The water supply condition in this city is excellent. The average price of water is very low, so it is easily accessible by all. The poor people are charged half the basic rate. The profits is used to improve the water supply.
The scarcity of water made way for private companies to make profit. Private suppliers supply water to the cities through buying the right to harness water from around the places. These companies maintain water supply for Chennai and nearby cities through a fleet of 13000 tankers. For this purpose, every month, they pay farmers and get permission to exploit water sources in their land.
Water supply in Chennai is marked by shortages. Municipal supply meets only about half the needs of the people of the city, on an average. There are areas which get more water regularly than others. Those areas that are close to the storage points get more water, whereas colonies further away receive less water. Apart from the availability of water, access to ‘safe’ drinking water is also available to some people and this depends on their affordability. The burden of shortfall in water supply falls mostly on the poor. The middle class, when faced with water shortage, are able to cope through a variety of private means such as digging bore wells, buying water from tankers and using bottled water for drinking.
Anna Nagar area looks lush and green because lawns are maintained by generous spraying of water. Bungalows, at this place, have tap water for major part of the day. The days when water supply is inadequate, Mr. Ramagopal (Senior government official) who looks into the welfare of the Anna Nagar, speaks to a senior official in the municipal1 water board to arrange a water tanker for the area.
Sanitation : Provision of facilities for the safe disposal of human urine and excreta is known as sanitation. It is done by construction of toilets and pipes to carry the by sewerage and treatment of waste water.
Sulabh is a non-government organisation, which has been working for three decades to concentrate on the problems of sanitation faced by the low caste, low-income people in India. It has erected more than 7,500 public toilet blocks and 1.2 million private toilets, giving access to sanitation to 10 million people. Sulabh enters into contracts with municipalities or other local authorities to construct toilet blocks with government funds. The local authorities provide land and funds for setting up the services, whereas maintenance costs are sometimes financed through user charges.