NCERT Class 8 Civics Chapter 9 - Public Facilities

Chapter 9 - Public Facilities

Question 1: Why do you think there are so few cases of private water supply in the world?
Answer:

• Throughout the world, water supply is a function of the government. There are very few instances of private water supply. There are areas in the world where public water supply has achieved universal access.
• In a few cases, where the responsibility for water supply was handed over to private companies, there was a steep rise in the price of water, making it unaffordable for many. Cities saw huge protests, with riots breaking out in places like Bolivia, forcing the government to take back the service from private hands.
• The water supply department in Mumbai raises enough money through water charges to cover its expenses on supplying water. In Hyderabad, a report shows that the department has increased coverage and improved performance in revenue collection. In Chennai, the department has taken several initiatives for harvesting rain water to increase the level of groundwater. It has also used the services of private companies for transporting and distributing water but the government water supply department decides the rate for water tankers and gives them permission to operate. Hence they are called ‘on contract’.

Question 2: Do you think water in Chennai is available to and affordable by all? Discuss.
Answer:
Water supply in Chennai is marked by shortages. Municipal supply meets only about half the needs of the people of the city, on an average. There are areas which get water more regularly than others. Those areas that are close to the storage points get more water whereas colonies further away receive less water. The burden of shortfalls in water supply falls mostly on the poor. The middle class, when faced with water shortages get water by digging borewells, buying water from tankers and using bottled water for drinking. Apart from the availability of water, access to ‘safe’ drinking water is also available to some and this depends on what one can afford. The wealthy have more choices, i.e. to the booming market in bottled water and water purifiers. People who can afford it have safe drinking water, whereas the poor are again left out. In reality, therefore, it seems that it is only people with money who have the right to water.

Question 3: How is the sale of water by farmers to water dealers in Chennai affecting the local people? Do you think local people can object to such exploitation of ground water? Can the government do anything in this regard?
Answer:
The shortage of water has opened up opportunities for private companies in a big way. Many private companies are providing water to cities by buying it from places around the city. In Chennai, water is taken from nearby towns like Mamandur, Palur, Karungizhi and from villages to the north of the city using a fleet of over 13,000 water tankers. Every month the water dealers pay farmers an advance for the rights to exploit water sources on their land. This is water taken away not just from agriculture but also from the drinking water supplies of the villagers. Ground water levels have dropped drastically in all these towns and villages as a result.

Question 4: Why are most of the private hospitals and private schools located in major cities and not in towns or rural areas?
Answer:
The services offered by the private hospitals and private schools are very costly which makes these services unaffordable to poor and even most of the middle-class people. The infrastructure and quality of services offered by these hospitals and schools are better. The rich people who can afford these services live more in cities than in towns or rural areas. That is why the private hospitals and private schools are mostly located in major cities and not in towns or rural areas.

Question 5: Do you think the distribution of public facilities in our country is adequate and fair? Give an example of your own to explain.
Answer:
  The distribution of public facilities in our country is neither adequate nor fair. Example: The citizens of Delhi avail all public facilities like water, healthcare and sanitation, electricity, public transport, schools and colleges. But if we go to Mathura or Aligarh people face grave crises of public facilities. Electricity cut-offs, water shortages are normal routine of life. Public transport is also not properly developed.

Question 6: Take some of the public facilities in your area, such as water, electricity, etc. Is there scope to improve these? What in your opinion should be done? Complete the table.

Question 6

Answer:

Question 6 Answer

Question 7: Are the above public facilities shared equally by all the people in your area? Elaborate.
Answer:
No, the most of the above-mentioned facilities are not shared equally in the areas. Water supply is not shared equally by all the people. The slum dwellers have to manage with a single water tap, where each house in a middle-class locality has a separate connection for water. While people of middle-class homes buy water from tankers to meet their needs, those in slums cannot afford it. However, other facilities, like electricity, road and public transport are shared equally by all.


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