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Water ATMs running behind deadline

SMART CITY MISSION

STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI, July 5: We often encounter ATMs with their expressions, ‘There is no cash’ or the popup ‘showing no link’. However, the Guwahati Smart City Ltd (GSCL) has introduced a new trend. With the installation of water ATMs across various places in and around Guwahati city under the ambitious ‘Smart City Mission’, now people are reacting, “There is no water in the ATM, it is defunct.”

It was speculated that under the ambitious scheme, there would be transformation of the trouble-ridden Guwahati city. However, things are not in order. Presently, a number of projects initiated under the Mission are left half-done. One such scheme is that of the water ATMs. However, most of them are crippled while the others are running behind deadline.

To meet the safe drinking water requirements at public places in Guwahati, this project was proposed to supply potable water through automated water dispensary units at selected locations. As many as 20 units with a raw water tank capacity of 2000 litres at each ATM were proposed to be installed at Kamakhya Temple (two numbers), Chandmari (two numbers), Silpukhuri and Paltan Bazar (three numbers), Fancy Bazar (four numbers), Pan Bazar (two numbers), and one each in Nehru Park, Dighalipukhuripar, Sukreswar Ghat, DC Office and Gauhati High Court.

Notably, the Guwahati Smart City Ltd (GSCL) was created to boost the progress of various development works proposed under the Mission. Hence, under the aegis of the GSCL, to complete the installation of all the proposed water ATMs across these locations, a sum of Rs 2.09 crore was earmarked. Accordingly the deadline for their completion was May last.

However, according to an official of the GSCL, only five water ATMs were completed in June. The irony, however, is that all the five water ATMs have gone defunct. Hence, the public is not getting a drop of water from these ATMs. Forget about other places, even the one completed and installed at the Kamrup (M) Deputy Commissioner’s office is not operational.

Talking to The Sentinel, a regular visitor at the DC office said that the water ATM installed at the DC’s office premise has been lying defunct for the last two months. “I tried many a time but never got a drop of water. It is simply abandoned,” the visitor said.

Under the Smart City Mission, as many as 11 developmental projects have been undertaken so far. However, tendering process is yet to be completed in a few cases while preparation of DPRs (detailed project reports) are pending in others. What is more, a few projects already initiated are yet to make any visible progress.

A top-level GSCL official informed that work is presently halted due to rains. He further added: “We have contacted the firm and they would complete the entire project in July.”