ERA recommends disapproved HDPE pipes for water supply project

SOHAIL PUNJABI
JAMMU: The Jammu and Kashmir Economical Reconstruction Agency (ERA) has recommend use of disapproved water supply pipes in a major project here.
For replacement of worn-out and laying of new pipelines, the agency has floated a tender wherein it recommended use of HDPE pipes, which stand disapproved by the state government since ‘90s.
The recommendation already encouraged response from the Public Health Engineering (PHE) department. Superintending Engineer PHE Mechanical of Urban Circle Jammu has written a letter to ERA, stating “PHE department has never approved use of HDPE pipes keeping in view the terrain, soil conditions, chemical affect, and low strength and lesser resistance of the pipes.”
“Department has witnessed a failure earlier with these files,” he has said.
Interestingly, it is learned, the pipes have been recommended by ERA’s team leader S N Verma, who had rejected HDPE pipes for use in Uttarakhand where he had been serving as Managing Director of the agency.
However, Verma refuses to agree that he followed different standards in two different states.
“Asian Development Bank (ADB) has directed us to suggest utilization of HDPE pipes after conducting a proper survey on these pipes. Accordingly we have recommended HDPE pipes in the plan and forwarded it to ADB,” he told Kashmir Reader.
“We have recommended HDPE pipes in the tender to be opened this month,” he added, and refused to comment on ERA’s discontinuation of the use of HDPE pipes earlier.
The insiders in ERA told Kashmir Reader that HDPE pipes have been recommended to favour a particular supplier.
“Reason for incorporating HDPE pipes in the package is that the team leader and some engineers of ERA have an understanding with a consultancy namely Shah Consultants of Gandhi Nagar,” they said.
“A recent survey in Uttarakhand discouraged use of HDPE pipes in the state, which is quite similar to Jammu and Kashmir. Yet ERA has recommended the pipes,” they added.
The insiders said that DI Pipes, and not HDPE pipes, are used in all states of India for sewerage and water supply projects.
“Even developing countries use DI pipes,” they said.
ERA’s Chief Executive Officer Sheikh Mustafa told Kashmir Reader that he would look into the matter.
“I will look into the matter, and we will act accordingly,” he said.