Tricolor Cleantech Capital, a social impact fund based in the US to invest $5 million in JanaJal, the flagship initiative of Delhi-based Supremus group, for safe drinking water ATMs in India. We speak to Parag Agarwal, social entrepreneur and cofounder of JanaJal
Tricolor Cleantech Capital, a social impact fund based in the US to invest $5 million in JanaJal, the flagship initiative of Delhi-based Supremus group, for safe drinking water ATMs in India. We speak to Parag Agarwal, social entrepreneur and cofounder of JanaJal.
Availability of affordable drinking water of prescribed standard to passengers is a basic amenity. With a view to further improve the availability of potable drinking water for passengers, the Ministry of Railways has formulated a comprehensive uniform policy for installation of Water Vending Machines (WVMs) at railway stations across the country. The objective of this policy is to lay down guidelines to make potable drinking water available through Water Vending Machines (WVMs) at stations.
Anticipating to change the perception on drinking water to ensure better living, social entrepreneur and cofounder of JanaJal, Parag Agarwal aims to deliver 1 billion litres of safe drinking water annually by 2018. “I have been involved with water treatment technology for about a decade now and gradually understood the long term variables of executing such products. Above all safe drinking water is a very big requirement on the ground. But there was never enough focus on it. Apart from the home water treatment, there was nothing introduced at the community level,” says Agarwal who feels the need to eliminate plastic is the biggest collateral benefit of water ATMs.
Founded in 2013 by brothers Parag and Anurag Agarwal, JanaJal is an initiative of Delhi-based Supremus Group. It is essentially a national undertaking to deliver clean, safe drinking water through automated hybrid water ATMs. Recently, Supremus Group has been committed to be funded by Tricolor Cleantech Capital for $5 million.
“Knowing the fact that such large scale community setup requires maintenance and infrastructure, it was important to build sustainability around these activities. With the launch of the Swachh Bharat, Develaya Se Pehle Shauchalaya by Modi government, there was a definite plan of action for adequate and clean drinking water supply at the community level,” adds Agarwal.
Having said that, JanaJal is also built on a robust ecosystem of benefits. “We are not only supplying clean drinking water to communities but also providing gainful employment to self-help groups, widows and the unemployed. We work with NGOs to give vocational training and upskill staff and expand their capabilities.”
The installation of water ATMs started in Varanasi in 2015 and has gradually grown its footprints in Telangana, Maharashtra, UP, and AP, Tamil Nadu, and NCR. Recently, Janajal has secured a contract from IRCTC to install 39 water ATMs at Mumbai’s Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, Kalyan and Igatpuri station and will commission these by 31st March, 2017.
As a self- funded project, Agarwal believes that the model is for-profit basis with a purpose. The revenue is earned through ATM units which are remotely controlled and monitored through a GPRS-based software.
JanaJal has several CSR partners and charitable trusts and foundations as associates namely Anarde Foundation, Hans Foundation, My Home India, Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages Ltd., NDR Warehousing Pvt. Ltd., Continental Warehousing Corporation (Nhava Sheva) Ltd., Rotary Club of Mewar, Hardicon, Delex Cargo India Pvt. Ltd., UPICO, Arkay Logistics Ltd. (Essar Group). The latest installation has been done for the Essar Group in Hazira, Surat where three water ATMs have been installed at the marshalling yard for about 1000 truck drivers.