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Water supply project runs into rough weather

 Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, March 16 - While some people in the State government with their ‘intrigues’ have been inordinately delaying implementation of the under-construction Guwahati water supply projects, a tribunal recently declared the firm engaged in laying the distribution network etc., of the Guwahati South Central Project insolvent. This is sure to add to the misery of the people, particularly of those living in the command areas of the South Guwahati Central Project. Things have come to such a pass that the common Guwahatians are very much upset with the abnormal delay in implementation of the water supply projects. They demand that the State government take immediate steps to expedite the commissioning of these projects. It should also make its stand on these projects public, they demand.

It is alleged that by overburdening a senior bureaucrat – whose role was vital in implementation of the city water supply schemes – with multiple responsibilities, the State government had for quite a long time slowed down the pace of implementation of the four under-construction Guwahati water supply projects.


The overburdening of the said bureaucrat incapacitated the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) in monitoring the implementation of the water supply projects – South Guwahati West, South Guwahati Central, North Guwahati and South Guwahati East.


These water supply projects are undertaken with funds from the Central government (South Guwahati West, under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, Rs 280.94 crore), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) (South Guwahati Central and North Guwahati, around Rs 2,337.10 crore) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) (South Guwahati East, Rs 857 crore).


The Hyderabad-based IVRCL has been laying the around 1,000-km-long distribution network of the South Guwahati Central Water Supply Project. According to sources, the company has already executed 65 per cent of the work related to this project.


Partial commissioning of the South Guwahati Central Water Supply Project was planned by December this year. And for the partial commissioning of this project, the spare water of the West Guwahati Project was proposed to be used. West Guwahati’s spare treated water was proposed to be carried to this project for the purpose, through a grid pipeline. And, over 70 per cent of the work for laying this grid pipeline has so far been completed by Gammon India Ltd. This is a stopgap arrangement being done at the cost of around Rs 20 crore, sources said.


But, in the meantime, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), Hyderabad has ordered the commencement of a corporate insolvency resolution process against the IVRCL Limited vide an order – C P (IB) No 294/7/HDB/2017 on February 23, 2018. The tribunal made the copy of the order ready for communication on March 1, 2018.


Sources here state that the IVRCL has failed to repay a loan amount of around Rs 600 crore to a public sector bank and hence it has been declared insolvent by the NCLT. This NCLT order is sure to affect its working in the city. If it is withdrawn from the South Guwahati Central Project, the new tendering process, to induct a new company, will take almost a year for completion. Thus, the entire process for implementing the South Guwahati Central Project will require at least two more years for completion, sources said.


It is worth mentioning here that the JICA has committed to release money till June 23, 2019. After this deadline, JICA is not bound to release any money for the South Central and North Guwahati projects. This will lead to wastage of the money already spent on the South Guwahati Central Project, not to speak of the sufferings of the people.


Source: The Assam Tribune, Guwahati, Saturday, March 17, 2018