Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Sep 20:
Around 67 percent of the population in the Odisha capital deprived of drinking water facility would be linked to piped water supply under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme in the coming months.
Officials of the state government on Saturday met to discuss the implementation of the 24/7 drinking water supply project to be executed in public private partnership (PPP) mode in the three major cities in the state.
Housing and Urban Development (H&UD) department officials deliberated on the annual action plan prepared for the AMRUT scheme for water supply in Bhubaneswar, Puri and Cuttack cities. The members discussed ways to improve the water supply system in these cities. Besides, it was decided to send a final report to the Centre in October after examining the reports of nine cities of Odisha included in the scheme.
“Round-the-clock water supply in the capital city will be provided in PPP mode. Installation of water meters, laying of pipelines, collection of water bills will be taken care of by private parties. Presently, water supply is under Public Health Department. The engineers and officials of the department will oversee the distribution after the implementation of the project,” Housing and Urban Development special secretary SK Rath said.
According to highly placed sources, the detailed project report (DPR) submitted by the private entity has several flaws in it as a result of which 24-hr water supply would not be possible.
As a pilot project here, the 24-hour facility would be launched in Sahid Nagar, IRC Village, Madhusudan Nagar, Shastri Nagar, CRPF area and government quarters. This facility would be extended to other parts of the city after 2-3 years depending on its success, sources said.
Notably, there are three water treatment plants in Bhubaneswar, which provide 230 million litres of drinking water daily covering a meagre 33% household in the city.
Under the AMRUT scheme, state government and the Centre would share the cost of the project equally. In the first year, the Centre would provide Rs 128 crore and a proportionate amount would be pumped in by the state. However, the state is now expressing its inability to fund the scheme and has invited private parties to undertake the water supply work under the scheme in PPP mode.
As per an estimate, the project to provide piped water supply to every household in the capital city would cost Rs 869. 89 crore. As it would not be possible for the state government to shell out such a huge amount, it has planned to take up the work with private participation.
Similarly, the old water pipelines, which were laid in 1950s and 60s, would be replaced and over 100 kms of pipelines would be replaced in the Millennium City. This apart, conservation of sweet water in pilgrim town Puri was stressed. For this, Rs 13 crore would be spend.
Under this project, new pipelines will be connected, water meters installed, treatment plant set up and automation done.