Major work of four hyped projects still to be completed
GUWAHATI: The absolutely snail’s pace of progress of the much-touted water supply projects in Guwahati has forced the residents to take to the street on a number of occasions. More often than not, the residents of the ‘Gateway to the Northeast’ are compelled to purchase water (for drinking as well for other needs) from private suppliers of water. However, the hard fact is that the authorities concerned are least bothered about the schemes.
At present, the water supply facility in the Guwahati Metropolitan area is being operated by three departments, namely the GMC (Guwahati Municipal Corporation), the AUWSSB (Assam Urban Water Supply and Sewerage Board), and the PHE (Public Health Engineering) Department. They cater to the water supply demands of 25 to 30 percent of the city residents. In other words, the majority of the city residents are being deprived of potable water from the authorities concerned.
To make matters worse, thousands of applicants have not been given water supply facilities by the above three departments. This is primarily because repairing works of several water supply networks are being carried out since July this year.
The Government of Assam had taken up four major water supply projects named the ‘Guwahati Water Supply Project’ (GWSP) to provide affordable, reliable, safe pressurized and continuous (24 x 7) supply of water to the residents of the Guwahati Metropolitan area. These are the JNNURM-funded ‘South Guwahati West Water Supply Project’, the Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA)-funded Guwahati South-Central Water Supply Project; the JICA-funded North Guwahati Zone Water Supply Project; and the Asian De4velopment Bank (ADB)-funded South East Guwahati Water Supply Project.
As per rules, the projects — after their completion — will be handed over to the Guwahati Metropolitan Drinking Water & Sewerage Board (Guwahati Jal Board).
The following data from the respective project implementation agencies indicate that work on none of the four projects has been up to the mark.
The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM)-funded ‘South Guwahati West Water Supply Project’ is being implemented by Gammo India Limited. The proposed capacity of this project is 107 MLD (millions of liters per day). This project is being carried out under the supervision of the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA).
It started way back in March 2009, it was supposed to be commissioned in 2013. Interestingly enough, the dates for commissioning the project have been changed several times. Nevertheless, the deadlines were always missed. The missed extended re-commissioning deadlines were in 2016, 2017, 2018, and also in 2019.
When asked about the percentage of work being completed, the GMDA sources referred to the water treatment plant (90%); and laying of underground pipes (80%).
GMDA sources further informed The Sentinel that while two of the eight reservoirs have been completed; 15% of the remaining six reservoirs and two of the three intake points (water sources) are to be completed.
Meanwhile, Guwahati Jal Board sources informed The Sentinel that it is gearing up to supply piped water to about 2000 households in the areas of Maligaon, Kamakhya, and some parts of Uzan Bazar under the JNNURM-funded ‘South Guwahati West Water Supply Project’. It has already issued a notice to the public to apply for this facility. The water tariff has also been fixed, the source added.
The JICA-funded Guwahati South-Central Water Supply Project with a proposed capacity of 191 MLD was started in 2011. The commissioning year was 2017.
On work completed, Guwahati Jal Board sources referred to the work of underground laying of pipes (80% work); intake point (30%); and water treatment plant (60%). On the other hand, four of the eight reservoirs are yet to be completed.
The JICA-funded North Guwahati Zone Water Supply Project with a proposed capacity of 37 MLD, Guwahati Jal Board sources informed The Sentinel that 50% of work has been completed. It was started in 2011.
The ADB-funded South East Guwahati Water Supply Project was started in August 2016. Its proposed capacity is 98 MLD. However, this project is in very bad shape compared to the other projects. While only 45% of the underground pipe-laying work has been done, nothing has progressed with respect to the other areas of the project. The project is being managed by the Project Management Unit (PMU) of the ‘Assam Urban Infrastructure Investment Programme’.
Will the authorities concerned wake up to the reality, remains to be seen?