Liq­uid Port­fo­lio

India Today - - SAFAI GIRI - —Chinki Sinha JanaJal

In a video clip, a boy from a Mum­bai slum fills wa­ter from a wa­ter ATM ev­ery day. That is jus­ti­fi­ca­tion enough for launch­ing wa­ter ATMs across the coun­try to pro­vide af­ford­able drink­ing wa­ter, ac­cord­ing to JanaJal, a flag­ship ini­tia­tive of the Supre­mus Group. It also jus­ti­fies charg­ing a nom­i­nal Rs 2 for a glass of wa­ter and Rs 5 for a litre.

“Wa­ter needs to be re­spected,” says Parag Agar­wal, 46, chair­man-cum­manag­ing di­rec­tor of JanaJal. “If it is free, wa­ter gets wasted.” It was on World Wa­ter Day—March 22—in 2016 that JanaJal set a tar­get of pro­vid­ing peo­ple with 1 bil­lion litres of drink­ing wa­ter by 2020 through its wa­ter ATMs. The first one was set up in Varanasi three years ago. To­day, JanaJal has 450 wa­ter ATMs in the coun­try and dis­penses about 200,000 litres a day on an aver­age.

In 2017, JanaJal got an in­vest­ment of about $5 mil­lion from Tri­color Clean­tech Cap­i­tal, a US-based so­cial im­pact fund. JanaJal is also ven­tur­ing into mo­bile wa­ter ATMs. Built on bat­tery-op­er­ated e-rick­shaws, these will be called Wa­ter on Wheels, or WOW.

WA­TER BEARERParag Ag­gar­wal poses with his WOW wa­ter ATM van in Delhi

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