The failure to complete the drinking water project at Sabarimala, Pampa and Nilackal even at the fag end of the Makaravilakku pilgrimage season has put the High Power Committee (HPC) for Sabarimala master plan in the dock.
The ₹470-lakh project involved installation of a reverse osmosis (RO) plant each, with a capacity to supply 10,000 litres of purified water an hour, at Sabarimala, Pampa, and at the Nilackal base camp in the backdrop of the ban on PET bottles at the pilgrim centre.
The project work, comprising installation of three RO plants, and laying of pipeline network connecting them to 200 water dispensers at the three places in a time-bound manner, was awarded to the Hyderabad-based Waterlife India Private Limited. There was a three-year annual maintenance contract too.
The agreement was for installing 50 water dispensers each at Pampa and Nilackal, and 100 dispensers at Sabarimala.
But, the company has installed only 25 dispensers at Sabarimala and 35 dispensers at Pampa.
The project remains a non-starter at the Nilackal base camp which is still facing acute drinking water problem following the ban on PET bottles. Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) sources said the contractor had failed to comply with seven of the 10 conditions in the agreement.
The completion of the drinking water project appear unlikely before the Makaravilakku festival on January 14, according to TDB sources.
TDB Chief Engineer G. Muraleekrishnan said the TDB had paid ₹50 lakh to the company following the installation of 35 dispensers at Pampa.
He said the board could release any further payment only after the commissioning of the project and the company produced the mandatory verification and certification from the competent government agencies and the master plan consultant.
The Vigilance has reportedly started collecting project details on the basis of media reports.