Srinagar: The finishing touch to the city drainage system has been held hostage to an amount blocked by the National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC). The amount is required to complete a comprehensive project left midway due to funds crunch. The authorities are now looking towards a new central scheme to compliment funding for the leftover work.
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 due time leading to massive shortfall in urban development.
Executive Engineer Urban Environmental Engineering Department (UEED) Istiyaq Hussain told Kashmir
Reader that the inordinate delay in completion of the project later on forced the NBCC to leave vital sewage treatment plant (STP) at Noorbagh midway. The STP’s seventy percent work had been completed.
“Every scheme has its life span and the project under the scheme has to be completed within the given time frame. Otherwise, there will be blockage of funds and the higher ups will have to seek alternatives to obtain funds,” Hussain said.
Hussain said there is another such scheme called Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) which is yet to be launched. “The NBCC is likely to get funds from AMRUT but it is a long way off. Had the NBCC worked as per the JNNURM timeline, there would not have been paucity of funds,” he said.
The Noorbagh STP is not the only unfinished project component. Two pumping stations at Wanganpora and Lal Bazar are yet to be installed as the project faced land acquisition issue. He said the UEED being a monitoring agency would ensure the land availability for the project but at Waganpora, the department had to take land forcibly.
The project costs a whooping amount of Rs 132 Crore, out of which Rs 90 Crore have been released so far, remaining Rs 42 Crore have been blocked, Hussain said.
There are total 135 km sewerage networks to be connected across old city, connecting 48, 220 households under the project. The STP at Noorbagh caries the capacity of 60 MLD, he added.
The UEED officials said that 98 percent of sewerage network is completed, however, at bridges NBCC would install pumping stations to ensure smooth movement of the sewage. The NBCC General Manager, Rafiq Choudhary said due to dearth of funds the project has been
suspended. NBCC has received Rs 90 Crore in two instalments but there is no communication from the government on the disbursement of the outstanding amount of Rs 42 Crore.
“We have received first and second instalments in the year 2007and 2012 respectively. We may be getting cash from AMRUT to complete the project,” Choudhary said.
However, the funds earmarked for AMRUT is mere Rs 290 Crore and it is not possible for it to allocate funds to other schemes like NBCC’s drainage as AMRUT has to serve many sectors including water supply, sewerage and septage, drainage, urban transport, development of parks and gardens across Srinagar city.