Regular supply of drinking water remains a distant dream for the residents of Bhawanipatana town as the projects started by the administration about eight years back are yet to be completed.
The projects have been underway in two phases under Regional Long Term Action Plan (RLTAP) and Urban Infrastructures Development System (small and marginal town) since 2003-04. Those aim at providing nine million litres of water per day to the residents of the town.
Under the projects, water will be pumped into the wells from river Hati and then distributed across the town through pipelines, said Assistant Engineer of Kalahandi Public Health Department (PHD) sub-division Prafulla Raito. Setting up a treatment plant at Bandopala, laying of pipelines with overhead tanks and service reservoirs are features of the projects, he added.
However, though the project has entered the second phase, completion seems to be out of sight. Meanwhile, revised estimate and tendering has escalated the project cost.
On the other hand, rising temperature and scarce water have made life miserable. Over one lakh people of the town depend on old and dilapidated pipelines that were laid in the 1960s for a population of about 20,000. Besides, the water pumped from river Sagada is not sufficient for the entire population.
Although the PHD claims to be supplying 4.02 million litres of water per day, the residents alleged that only half of the quantity reaches them.
Giving an account of the pending works in phase-I of the project, Raito said the intake well has tilted even before completion and needs to be repaired. Renovation and extension work of NH-201 has damaged pipelines through which water was being drawn from river Sagada and ` two crores will be required to repair them.
This apart, agitator for the water treatment plant in Bandopala is yet to be procured.
The overhead tank on the weekly market premises of the town was sanctioned `51.9 lakh. After being re-tendered for the third time, though ` 44.88 lakh has been spent ` 50 lakh more is needed as per revised estimate, said Raito.
He added that phase-II of RLTAP at an estimated cost of ` 8.19 crore was approved in 2009-10. Its main components were to lay pipelines from treatment plant at Bandopala to the town, construction of five lakh litre capacity service reservoir at Ashasagar and three ground storage reservoirs with each having a capacity of 7.5 lakh litres. Although distribution pipes have been procured, the tender for laying those is yet to be floated and the construction of the reservoirs has not begun.
“Due to revised estimate, the project cost has escalated and it cannot be said when exactly the works will be completed and at what cost,” said Raito.
Meanwhile, the residents pointed that contaminated water is pumped from the tube-wells in the area. As there is no control over sinking of tube-wells, the water table in the area is fast receding. At some places, tube-wells are pumping out mineral laced water. According to sources, there are 505 public and 1000 private tube-wells in the area at present.