NWSC on verge of bankruptcy

Kathmandu, September 11:

Nepal Water Supply Corporation, the government organisation that enjoys monopoly in distributing drinking water, is on the verge of bankruptcy, thanks to the government’s decision to hand over its profit-making wings to a semi-private institution.

The government has decided to hand over the profit-making wing of the NWSC in the Kathmandu Valley to Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited, a newly formed body, from October 1. KUKL will also take away used or unused property, land in many commercial areas and the vehicles being used in the capital.

“The corporation has been in the red since long. On the top of it, the government has decided to detach all lucrative wings and what we’ll be left with are only liabilities,” Gautam Bahadur Amatya, the general manager of NWSC, told this daily.

After the long-waited “handover” — for which, the donors, mainly Asian Development Bank, are pressuring the government — the income of the valley branches will go to the KUKL and the NWSC will be left to distribute salary for the rest of the country’s employees. It is speculated that the NWSC will not be able to provide service to many towns and certain services will have to be done away with. According to recent estimates, the NWSC possesses property worth Rs 4 billion but the KUKL share is yet to be finalised.

He added that the NWSC has requested the government to provide a programme for its survival but response is yet to come.

NWSC will be looking after municipalities like Kalaiya, Jaleshwar, Malangwa and Taulihawa, which have little chance of being self-dependent. While cities with some revenue, like Pokhara and Bharatpur, will be handed over to the respective municipalities. Biratnagar, Birgunj and Hetauda will either become autonomous or will be managed privately. Officials from the Ministry of Physical Planning were not available for comments.