West Bengal signs Tatas for water, waste services

West Bengal signs Tatas for water, waste services

Kolkata: Jamshedpur Utilities and Services Co. (Jusco), a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Steel Ltd, which has been providing civic and allied services to the city of Jamshedpur, has entered into an agreement with the government of West Bengal to provide water and sewerage services to the Nabadiganta Industrial Township Area (NDITA) in Kolkata.

NDITA, popularly known as Sector V, in the Salt Lake satellite township of the state capital, houses mostly information technology firms and other offices. It is not a residential area.

According to the agreement, Jusco and Voltas, another Tata group company, have decided to form an as-yet unnamed special purpose vehicle to execute the Rs57 crore project. Speaking on the sidelines of a UK trade and investment seminar on delivering sustainable and innovative water and wastewater projects, Jusco managing director Sanjiv Paul said, “Jusco will have a 74% stake in the SPV while Voltas will hold the remaining 26%."

The SPV formed by the two companies will execute the project, the first experiment here involving the private sector in water and sewage services, in partnership with Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority.

“The project, once completed, will supply three million gallons of water per day," Paul said. “It’ll be on a build-operate-transfer model and will revert to the government after 30 years."

“The state government fixed a rate of Rs25 per kilolitre (1,000 litres) for us, but this would have been unsustainable had 35% of the project not been approved for funding by the JNNURM (Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission)," said Paul. He, however, wasn’t sure whether the state government had been able to secure the JNNURM funds. “They are working on it," he said.

The fund is part of the Central government’s plan to fix urban infrastructure across India and states are granted money from the pool, depending on their town planning needs. According to Paul, the project will take 18 months to implement. “The government will acquire the land for us to set up the filtration and treatment plant and pumping station," he said, adding, “The land required is minimal, less than an acre."