Ludhiana, June 8
Finally, the 24x7 canal-based surface drinking water supply project is back on the track, the Municipal Corporation (MC) has confirmed.
As many as four bids have been received for the World Bank (WB) and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) funded Rs 3,394.45-crore project, which have been sent to the WB for formal nod before allotment of the physical work on the much-awaited ambitious scheme to quench the thirst of Ludhiana, officials have said.
Rajya Sabha MP Sanjeev Arora, told The Tribune, on Thursday that the state government has taken up the mega project on a topmost priority and all-out efforts are being made to kick-start the ground work at the earliest.
Arora was briefed by the MC Commissioner, Dr Shena Aggarwal, that the tender for the execution of the project was called by the Punjab Municipal Infrastructure Development Company (PMIDC) as per the detailed project report (DPR) formally approved by the WB, following which four bids have been received.
She apprised that the bids have also been opened and the technical evaluation report was sent to the WB, which would give the formal nod to allot the work after reviewing the same.
Under the project, as many as 137 overhead supply reservoirs (OHSRs) and 173-km-long transmission main lines will supply 24x7 canal-based surface drinking water supply to the residents of Ludhiana.
“The objective of the project is to shift from groundwater to surface water while supplying the essential commodity on a 24x7 basis,” Rajya Sabha MP said.
Dr Aggarwal said the scheme will be executed in two phases. While Phase I will include raw water system, water treatment plant (WTP), treated water pumping, transmission mains from WTP to OHSRs, the Phase II will involve distribution system and house service connections with metering.
“As of now, the Phase I works will be executed with the WB support while Phase II scheme will be taken up subsequently under other schemes,” she revealed, while adding that 53.02 acres of land located just adjacent to the proposed raw water source in Bilga village had already been purchased for setting up the WTP.
The WB and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) had approved $105 million each in financial support for the ambitious project in March 2021.
MC Chief said the salient features of Phase I works include design of per capita water supply at 150 litres per capita daily (LPCD), raw water source from a distributary from Sidhwan canal, construction of 580-MLD capacity WTP at Bilga village, laying of 173-km-long transmission mainline of 150 mm to 2,000 mm and 55 new OHSRs.
She said the resolution for volumetric water tariff had been approved by the MC general House on November 10, 2020, while the state government on August 24, 2022, had notified the setting up of the 7-member WSS utility, headed by the Local Government Secretary as its chairman and PMIDC CEO and MC Commissioner as the directors.
The Phase I works will cost Rs 1,252.51-crore, including land cost, while the Phase II projects will be undertaken at the cost of 2,141.94 crore, including Rs 700 crore for 10 years of operation and maintenance.
3 million beneficiaries
A major focus of the project will be on providing efficient water supply and sanitation services in Ludhiana and Amritsar, cities that are the engines of economic growth for the state. The improvements in the water supply will benefit over 3-million people in 2025 and an estimated 5-million projected population in 2055. Industrial and commercial users would also benefit from the good quality reliable water supply.
It was on the recommendation of the then Capt Amarinder Singh-led state government that the project was approved by the Union Ministry of Finance’s Department of Economic Affairs and was posed to the WB and the AIIB for external financing.
To provide clean water
Presently, Ludhiana and Amritsar draw their water by pumping out groundwater from hundreds of bore-wells dug up across the two cities. Pumping groundwater directly from these bore-wells leads to significant water loss and wastage as households are not incentivised to save. Studies have also revealed that Ludhiana’s groundwater was contaminated with nitrates and other heavy metals while Amritsar district’s with arsenic.
The project will shift water supply from rapidly depleting and highly contaminated groundwater sources, to a centralised treatment plant drawing water from local canals (surface water sources).
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