Thursday, November 16, 2006

>Reliance now turns to water management

Reliance Industries is set to make a big splash, this time in water management. The Mukesh Ambani-controlled petrochemicals major has set up a team to spearhead the initiative. Water management has been opened up for private players.
Sources close to the development said the company had already informed the Maharashtra government about its plans.
However, it would have to wait for some more time to enter Maharashtra till the civic bodies come out with a tender inviting bids for water management.
The Reliance move follows the Tata group, which is also in the process of making a big splash in the same business.
Jamshedpur Utility & Services Company (Jusco), which manages water and civic amenities in Jamshedpur, is the Tata group’s outfit for the initiative. Jusco, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Steel, had put in bids for participating in two projects in Bangalore.
Sources in Mantralaya, headquarters of the Maharashtra government, said Reliance had begun surveys in Maharashtra as a precursor to the proposed entry. A Reliance Industries spokesperson declined to comment.
Industry sources said the scope for water management in the country was huge. The national average water availability in the country is 5.6 hours a day only.
Bangalore gets water for 2.5 hours a day, while Chennai is at the bottom of the list with water availability of 1.5 hours a day. Ahmedabad comes next with 2 hours a day. Delhi has availability of 4 hours a day, less than Mumbai’s 5 hours a day.
The Tata group had recently announced its entry into the enhanced water business with the acquisition of Glaceau for $676 million (nearly Rs 3,040 crore).

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