The rainwater that flooded the streets on Tuesday morning when a heavy downpour brought chaos and disorder to the summer capital made one thing emphatically clear: that the city sorely lacks a drainage system. And what will surely make matters worse for the residents of the city is the news that the state government has put the Rs 132 crore drainage project begun a decade back on the back burner.
It was in 2008, the state government awarded the contract for developing drainage system to central public sector undertaking, National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC).
The PSU was scheduled to complete the laying of drainage system in 5 years' time i.e. 2013. However, sluggish approach and lack of monitoring resulted that even after the passing of 10 years, the project is yet to be completed.
A senior official of the Housing and Urban Development Department informed Greater Kashmir that "this project was not conceived properly from the beginning. There are lot of loopholes which resulted in delay. Then the authorities wasted money as a result of which there is still huge money to pending which is to be paid to the company"
"Besides due to the delay, there is a cost overrun in the project. It was earlier estimated to be completed within a budget of Rs 132 crore, which has now gone up to tune of Rs 155 crore," he added.
The NBCC started work under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) scheme in May 2008 and projected its completion in September 2013. However, the scheme could not be completed in time as result of which the scheme ended, leaving the state authorities high and dry as they had no money to avail from the central scheme.
There are total 135 km sewerage networks to be connected across the old city, connecting 48, 220 households under the project. The STP at Noorbagh has the capacity of 60 MLD.
According to the Urban Environmental Engineering Department (UEED) official 80 percent of sewerage network is completed, however, at bridges NBCC would install pumping stations to ensure smooth movement of the sewage.
Chief Engineer, Hanief Lone confirmed that the sewerage project could not be completed in time due to the paucity of funds. "There are some liabilities of the NBCC which are to be cleared, besides there were certain technical issues such as few areas needs STPs to be constructed for which we need funds," Lone said adding that now the total cost of the project is around Rs 155 crore.
He said that the sewerage treatment plant at Noorbagh is 75 percent complete. "Hopefully, this year we would get funds to complete it. I have written to planning department seeking allocation of funds for this project," he said.