chapter  13
17 Pages

Anti-privatization struggles and the right to water in India: engendering cultures of opposition

Thousands of protesters campaigned in Plachimada, Kerala, and Delhi, India, to oppose the private control of public water supplies and to ensure the right to water. Activists in Plachimada successfully shut down a CocaCola2 plant that depleted the village’s groundwater, and the popular movement in Delhi stopped the privatization of the city’s water utility. The

struggles in Plachimada and Delhi are not uncommon as rural communities all over the world are increasingly competing with industries for access to local water supplies, and urban residents are defending water utilities against private companies that seek new customers and markets. What distinguishes these cases from other water con½icts is that the broad-based movements generated enough political pressure to force the Indian state and central governments to ensure that water would be managed in the public’s interest and not for pro¼t.