Most Shuddha drinking water units in DK defunct

A member raises a point in the Zilla Panchayat meeting in Mangaluru on Saturday.

Of the 36 Shuddha drinking water units in the district, many were found to be defunct during inspection.

The Zilla Panchayat Council committee revealed the fact while submitting its interim report on Saturday.

Zilla Panchayat member Janardhan Gowda, who heads the committee, said some of the 36 units were in a deplorable state.

“Some units continue to face technical problems and the local gram panchayat officers have no information about the units. There is no proper road access to such units. Also, the committee members found the units unhygienic. There is lack of coordination among the officers of the KRIDL (Karnataka Rural Infrastructure Development Limited) and the gram panchayats,” he listed out.

He said tenders for the works taken up by the Rural Drinking Water and Sanitation Department were entrusted to Pan Asia which was asked to maintain the units for five years. As the contractor failed to maintain the units, the contract was suspended. The estimate for the pending work is being prepared by officials, he added.

Janardhan Gowda reminded that the units were meant to solve the drinking water crisis in rural areas. “With the help of reverse osmosis machines, pure drinking water should have been given to people. Unfortunately, it has not been implemented effectively in the district,” he lamented.

Maintenance

Gowda recommended that the responsibility of maintenance of the units be given to a private firm or a government department.

MLC Ivan D’Souza, lauding the efforts of the Council committee, promised to forward the interim report to the minister for Panchayat Raj and Rural Development. “If there is any dishonest intention on the part of the KRIDL and the gram panchayats, action will be taken against them,” he stressed.

An officer of KRIDL clarified that of the 102 drinking water units, 57 had been commissioned and work on the other 45 units was in progress. “Technical faults reported in the 57 units have been rectified,” he insisted.

Panchayat members, cutting across party lines, however, argued that all the drinking water units were defunct.

Chief Executive Officer Selvamani, when pressed by the members to share experiences of installing the drinking water units in Bidar, said that the units maintained by the respective gram panchayats were serving their purpose. “Each gram panchayat can take up the work on its Shuddha drinking water unit by utilising funds from MGNREGS and the 14th Finance Commission,” said the officer.

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Most Shuddha drinking water units in DK defunct

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