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Fate of 4 water supply projects in a limbo

 GUWAHATI, March 18 - The present picture concerning the four under-construction city water supply projects is very gloomy.

Sources told this newspaper that the failure of the State government to act in the desired manner is the main reason for the entire plan to commission these water supply projects going haywire.

Citing examples, sources said the government has failed to resolve the disputes concerning the plots of land required to set up the reservoirs and treatment plants of the projects. This is more true in case of the 107 million litres per day (MLD) capacity South Guwahati West Project. Court case concerning the land for its main reservoir delayed its implementation by around two years.

Again, the Railways also took more than two years’ time to issue permission for laying the main and distribution pipelines below the rail track. The length of the pipeline also got increased due to the change in its alignment, as, the State’s Inland Water Transport Department, the Inland Waterways Authority of India and the Railways did not allow laying of the pipelines through their respective campuses.

The construction of the pre-settlement tank of the Project delayed as the required amount of Brahmaputra sand could not be collected due to non-receipt of the State government’s permission for the purpose, sources said.

The failure of the State government to fulfil the condition slapped by the Central government for amending the rent control legislation for Guwahati to ensure flow of Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) fund for the Project also resulted in non-release of ten per cent of the assured money for this project.

However, around 96 per cent progress in implementing this Project has been observed so far and the latest deadline for its completion is announced to be December 2018.

The other major reason for the delay in commissioning of these projects is the failure of the contractors to execute their assigned works in time.

The South Guwahati West Project has a provision of three intake wells with each having the size of ten metres in diameter. Of them, only two could register a progress of work of around 95 per cent. One of its two water treatment plants has registered 95 per cent progress and the other around 80 per cent progress.

In the case of Asian Development Bank (ADB)-funded South Guwahati East Project, Hyderabad-based IVRCL was awarded the contract to construct six reservoirs and the transmission main lines but the company failed to execute the work assigned to it and it was withdrawn due to non-starting of the Project and re-tendering was done and the work was allotted to M/s Shivam.

However, the progress of work under the new contractor is also very slow, sources said.

There was also a problem concerning the plots of land for these reservoirs. The intake site of the Project was also shifted but no work has been allotted to any contractor so far.

The Phase-I (Trance-I) of this project includes procurement of pipes and laying of the transmission main lines, besides the construction of the reservoirs, while Phase-II of the Project includes construction of the water intake well, water treatment plant and laying of the distribution main lines.

This project was started in 2012 and initially, 2017 was the deadline for its completion. Now, the revised deadline is 2022, sources added.

Construction of the 37 MLD capacity North Guwahati Project started in 2012. M/s BISWA Construction, which was awarded the work to construct its distribution network, could complete around 70 per cent of its construction till 2016, when it was discharged for slow pace of work. Process to blacklist the company is reportedly on. Though new tender is floated for the Project, it is yet to be settled.

The Delhi-based Jindal Saw Company was awarded the contract to design and construct the intake well, treatment plant, distribution reservoir, etc., of this Project but the company has hardly completed 10 per cent to 15 per cent of the intake well so far, while it has been able to complete around 35 per cent of the water treatment plant.

On the top of all these, the Guwahati Jal Board has not taken any step to provide power connection to the Project.

If the progress of work goes on at this pace, the Project will take time till 2025 for its completion, sources said.

The fate of the South Guwahati Central Project is in limbo with the National Company Law Tribunal ordering the commencement of a corporate insolvency resolution process against its executing agency, IVRCL Limited.

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