In the pipeline for far too long

When a whopping Rs 1,150 crore was allocated in the State Budget 2011-12 for the Cauvery IV stage II phase project, citizens hoped the BWSSB would finally supply an additional 500 million litres of water to the City.

For the 12 lakh plus Bangaloreans residing in the newly-added BBMP areas of Rajarajeshwari Nagar, Dasarahalli, Bommanahalli, Krishnarajapuram, Mahadevapura, Byatarayanapura and Yelahanka, besides Kengeri and 110 villages around Bangalore, there was reason to cheer. No longer.

Here’s why: The project is still in the pipeline, and the residents are staring at another year of acute water crisis. The demand for water has drastically increased with the real estate boom on the fringes of the City. With large-scale exploitation of borewells in these areas, residents are waiting eagerly for the Cauvery water project to be commissioned.
Anjanappa, a resident of Ramamurthynagar, says BWSSB has been promising water for the past one year, but nothing has happened till date.

The ambitious Cauvery water project, executed with funds from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the State government, has still a long way to go. The project was slated to be completed in February 2012, but only 85 per cent of the work is over. The Board officials and the minister had promised to supply water by March 2012. But due to several hurdles, the work is expected to be completed only by June 2012 and residents will get water by August 2012. 

Municipal Reforms Project

Besides the water lines, BWSSB is also laying sanitary pipelines in the newly added urban local bodies (ULBs) under Karnataka Municipal Reforms Project (KMRP), using World Bank and JnNURM funds. The project, however, is progressing at a snail’s phase due to a number of obstacles faced by the Board contractors.

“I agree that the work is progressing very slowly. The roads are so narrow, it is difficult to dig deep and lay the pipelines. At some places, there are several soak pits which have to be handled carefully,” explains an engineer in charge of CMC works.

Residents are forced to bear the brunt of the slow pace of work.

The total cost of the project is around Rs 1,200 crore. About 2,300 km of new sanitary pipelines will be laid. This work is expected to be complete only by 2014-2015.

The Water Board presents its budget mainly for maintenance, including repair works of sanitary and water supply lines. A loan amount of Rs 2,316.37 crore was availed from different agencies and an amount of 2,179.68 crore was the Board’s expenditure on project works, leaving a surplus of 136.69 crore.

The Board’s budget for Revenue account, in terms of water charges, was Rs 582.93 crore and a surplus amount of Rs 825.58 crore was spent on maintenance for 2011-12. 

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