Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb 20:

Even two years after the decision was made to hand over the drinking water supply to the Water Corporation (WATCO), there is still uncertainty over operationalization of WATCO office in Odisha capital.

An office of WATCO has been opened one year ago and the recruitment has been made into the posts like Managing Director and Board of Directors. However, the office is yet to be functional.

WATCO is only running in pen and paper in Bhubaneswar, as its water supply is still managed by Public Health Department (PHD).

Earlier, the government had decided to make WATCO functional from April 1, 2016. As the Public Health department was not prepared, it was deferred to another one year.

The WATCO is likely to be not functional even by April 1, 2017 as a detailed report about the officials’ appointment, fund allocation, nature of jobs, public assistance and grievance redressal has not been finalized. Therefore, it is not possible that the agency will be functional from April 1 this year. It may start its complete operation in September or October, said a senior official in the PHD.

Although, the BMC Commissioner, BDA vice chairman, officials in Finance department, Odisha Water Supply and Sewerage Board Members secretary have been appointed as the Board of Directors in WATCO, employees are yet to be recruited to execute the work.

Notably, the WATCO would take over the water supply operation from PHD at Division-1, 2 and 3 of Bhubaneswar in the first phase. But, the concern still remains on the financial difficulties that the WATCO will face in absence of government aid.

According to reports, PHD is earning around Rs 25 crore annually by providing 96,000 water connections in Bhubaneswar, Khurda and Jatani at investment of around Rs 67 crore towards drinking water supply, chemical use, electricity bill, maintenance and employees’ salaries.

With the handing over the water supply operation to WATCO, the government will not provide financial assistance to the agency. Also Read