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Oct 24 2008
Supplied or written by Suresh

The Hindu on 25th September, 2008, Tamil Nadu

Water activists oppose commodification

Special Correspondent

They say the main issue is not finance or technology but governance

They are participating in a pan-Asian colloquium“The key is democratisation of the sector”

CHENNAI: Water activists from diverse countries such as Japan, the Philippines, Palestine, Turkey and Mexico have expressed themselves against the commodification of water.
   In an interaction with reporters, the activists, who are here to participate in a pan-Asian colloquium, said there were several alternatives to privatisation of the water sector mooted by international funding agencies. But the main issue was not finance or technology but of governance. The key was democratisation of the sector.
   Mary Ann Manahan of Focus on Global South, Philippines, described as failure the privatisation experiment in a part of Metro Manila and said there was no transparency and accountability after water distribution was handed over to the private sector.
   Claudia Campera Arena of Mexico, who represents Red Vida, an inter-American network in defence of water and life, said that while aggressive efforts were being made to privatise the water sector in her country and Colombia, social movements in many other Latin American nations had driven private companies out of the sector.
   Fuat Ercan, representative of Platform against Commodification of Water, Istanbul, said water resources belonged to people, and they could not be bought or sold.
   V. Suresh, founder trustee and director, Centre for Law, Policy and Human Rights Studies, said that as a curtain-raiser to the World Water Forum scheduled for next year in Turkey, the colloquium began here on Tuesday, with the field visit of 22 foreign delegates to Vizhukkam village in Villupuram district, where the system of rice intensification was being practised. The delegates, representing 17 Asian countries and water networks from Palestine, Mexico and Canada, visited Endal in Tiruvannamalai district and Pagalmedu in Tiruvallur district. On Wednesday, they met senior engineers of the Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board and the Agricultural Engineering Department, who briefed them about the experiments made in the water sector.
   On Friday, a public event, ‘Water Dialogue,’ would take place at the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras. Rajendra Singh, a prominent water activist of Rajasthan and winner of the 2001 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership, and B.K. Sinha, Director-General of the National Institute of Rural Development, will participate in the dialogue. An exhibition on the democratisation experiment carried out by the TWAD Board will also be organised.


The Hindu on 26th Steptember 2008 (coverare og the Water Dialogues)

Rivers in State can be rejuvenated

Special Correspondent

— Photo: R. Shivaji Rao

WATER DIALOGUE: (From left) Rajendra Singh, leader of the Tarun Bharat Sangh and winner of the 2001 Magsaysay Award; B.K. Sinha, Director-General, National Institute of Development; Anil Naidoo, Blue Planet Project, Council of Canadians; Saleh Rabi, Director, Palestinian Water Training Institute; and Mary Ann Manahan, Focus on Global South, the Philippines, at a seminar in Chennai on Friday.

CHENNAI: When rivers in Rajasthan, a desert State, can get a fresh lease of life and become perennial, it is possible in Tamil Nadu, too, Rajendra Singh, leader of the Tarun Bharat Sangh and winner of the 2001 Magsaysay Award, said here on Friday.
   Participating in a ‘water dialogue’ held as part of the pan-Asian colloquium at Indian Institute of Technology-Madras, he said that having a sense of water, sense of river and sense of life, and seeing a close relationship among the three, was the critical factor.
   Pointing out that seven rivers in the northern State had been rejuvenated, Mr. Singh said that when his organisation started the work, it wanted not to revive rivers but to reclaim livelihood. As lack of water was the reason for the loss of livelihood in that part of the State, the Sangh had decided to focus on the water issue. Calling upon the people to negotiate between global policies and local action, Mr. Singh said those rooted in ancient wisdom would be able to tame the forces of consumerism. Saleh Rabi, Director of the Palestinian Water Training Institute, Palestine, regretted that leaders of the West, Israel and Palestine were not paying attention to water issues in his country.
   B.K. Sinha, Director-General of the National Institute of Rural Development, said that though powers had not been uniformly distributed among panchayats across the country, those that had been empowered created wonders. He also explained how the technological ban created by organisation was serving as a platform for various institutions. Anil Naidoo, who represented Blue Planet Project, Council of Canadians, lauded Tamil Nadu engineers for willingly giving up powers for the experiment of water democratisation. Mary Ann Manahan of the Focus on Global South, The Philippines, said that after years of work by water rights activists in her country, the government recognised importance of their movement.


The Hindu, rural edition on 23rd September 2008

Water Forum delegates visit village near Tindivanam

Special Correspondent

VILLUPURAM: Twenty-three delegates of the World Water Forum visited Villukkam in Tindivanam taluk on Tuesday to get firsthand information about the involvement of the local community in the water management system.
The delegates were happy with the way in which the officials and the residents were coordinating to achieve the common goal. They felt that what could not be accomplished even through government orders could be so effectively achieved with the cooperation of the people.

Pat for departments
   The delegates said it was a matter of pride that eight departments were coordinating among themselves to fulfil the requirements of the people, and such a unity of purpose was hard to find even in developed countries.
The departments that have come together for the project are agriculture, agriculture engineering, agriculture marketing, horticulture, fisheries, animal husbandry and public works.
   Collector R. Palanisamy, who accompanied the delegates, gave an account of the working of the World Bank-aided IAMWARM (Irrigated Agriculture Modernization and Water Bodies Restoration and Management) project.
   He said the project had two other components: “WARRAM” (Watershed and Agricultural Resources Re-engineering and Management project); and “KOODAM” that laid stress on a people-friendly approach. Under the IAMWARM project, micro-irrigation and System of Rice Intensification were being promoted to expand the area under cultivation and to get better yield.


Chennai September 29.2008

Quest for water bridges caste divide


A farmer-friendly concept for judicious use of water

R. Vimal Kumar

Water management has improved substantially: farmers

— Photo: M. Balaji Water for all: K. Shanmugam with the citation he received.

Tirupur: K. Shanmugam, an assistant engineer with the Department of Agricultural Engineering, is elated as a concept developed by him for judicious use of water has started changing the life of agrarian community at Ellapalayam Pudur village near here.

The concept titled 'Democratisation of water thereby securing water for all', which was implemented on a pilot basis in the village about five months ago, recently obtained a joint recognition from the Indian Institute of Technology- Madras (IIT-M), Chennai, Focus on Global South and IAMWARM (Irrigated Agriculture Modernisation and Water-bodies Restoration and Management) project of the State government.

The engineer was presented with a citation 'in recognition of his pioneering work' at a function in Chennai.


Explaining the salient features of the scheme to The Hindu, Mr. Shanmugam said the hypothesis was educed after studying the topography of the area under cultivation and the crops raised in the village.

Based on the evaluation, farmers were suggested to establish region-specific structures that could impound runoff water during rainy season.


Accordingly, six farm ponds and 205 rainwater harvesting structures were erected across the village at 'strategic locations' with the help of the Watershed Agricultural Resources Reengineering and Management (WARRAM) centre functioning in the village.

The WARRAM centre was established as a joint initiative of agriculture and allied departments and farmers.

Besides, micro irrigation systems were established in the village to supply required quantity for crops such as coconut, onion, tomato, ladies finger and maize based on the age of plant, spacing, soil type and water quality.

Members of the farming community said with the introduction of the system, water management had improved substantially which in turn had enhanced their savings.



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