Friday, 4 May 2007

Mumbai's campaign against the PPIAF

After the adventures of Delhi the group split into two groups. Myself and Julian joined Willy de Costa (from the Indian Social Forum) hastily left the Delhi meeting with the General Secretary of water to rush to Mumbai for an afternoon public meeting. The PPIAF is currently undertaking a scoping privatisation project in a rich area of Mumbai, and there is a strong concern among many aspects of the community that this work will be used to push privatisation across much of the city. Civil society has mobilised well and have formed a collective called ‘Mumbai Water’ that is looking at trying to stop this threat of privatisation. WDM has done a lot of work on the PPIAF so I was keen to meet some of these activists directly, and hopefully invite some of them to attend a counter conference we are organising at the PPIAF’s AGM in The Hague this June.

Due to delays we arrived quite late for the event and went straight into the press conference – where there were dozens of press of photographers and press waiting for the book launch. Apparently the press in Mumbai ‘prefer women’, so being one of the only women on the delegation I ended up having lots of photos taken of me, and had to choose someone from the audience to present the book to (I chose someone who had been actively campaigning against the PPIAF’s work).

There was a lot of energy in the meeting, and they were keen to learn from our experiences. It is a critical time in the PPIAF work, and the groups are ready to take action – in fact at the end of the meeting they decided to implement their own version of a ‘public-public partnership’ and are now forming a new group to explicitly deal with this issue and keep the pressure up in Mumbai.

This event was organised by a lady called Mina, who has been an active campaigner for many years, and was championing the research into PPIAF and Mumbai. Unfortunately Mina died the week before the event in a tragic accident. Our strong condolences go out to her friends, family and relatives – and thanks to all the hard work she did.

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