This is certainly unhappy news for the people of Coimbatore city. The commencement of Coimbatore Corporation's ambitious 24x7 water supply project is expected to be delayed by two years.
According to civic body sources, the project may be awarded to a contractor this year, who would take another year to study it and work would start only after 2018.
"Presently, the state government is analysing the RFQ (request for quotation) and also scrutinizing the qualifiers. Only after that, the financial bidding will be conducted," said an official. But after the contract is awarded, the contractor would be asked to study the project for at least a year.
The project will not be implemented in the next two years, said the official.
"Once the contractor implements the project, the company would also be responsible for its maintenance for the next 30 years," the official said.
But civic activists and opposition party councillors said the project is most likely to fail and compared it to the JNNURM's underground drainage project, which too did not take off.
"The ruling party would only try and make money out of the project. Like in the case of the UGD project, where the central government allocated funds for the project to the civic body, but it took them more than five years to implement it. And the project is yet to be completed," said a councillor.
He added that the 24x7 water supply project and the smart city project, both huge money spinners, will remain on paper for several years. "The paperwork for the projects will be completed, but will become eyewash just like the JNNURM projects," said an activist.
The project is estimated at 556.57 crore and involves replacing 1,467kms of pipeline in 60 wards and is said to benefit 10.5 lakh people in the city. Also, 29 new overhead tanks will be set up.
The project was proposed keeping in mind the population of the city in 2045.
"We will ensure that water meters are set up on overhead tanks that would help monitor leakages. In the meanwhile, we have started setting up various other facilities and infrastructure required for the implementation of the project," said an engineer.