Land acquired for Rs 3,394-cr canal water supply project in Ludhiana

WTP to be set up on 54 acres at Bilga; revised proposal sent to WB for nod

Land acquired for Rs 3,394-cr canal water supply project in Ludhiana

Photo for representational purpose only.

Nitin Jain

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 25

In a major development, land has been acquired for the much-awaited 24x7 canal-based surface drinking water supply project worth Rs 3,394.45-crore in Ludhiana, the administration has confirmed.

A chunk of 54 acres at Bilga village has been bought from land owners to set up the water treatment plant (WTP) while the revised request for proposal (RFP) has been sent to the World Bank (WB) for approval, the officials have said.

Funding Pattern

  • The project will finance all new raw water systems, water treatment plants, transmission systems and reservoirs to supply clean water to cover entire cities under the DBOT contract. The DBOT operator will manage the operations and maintenance of these water supply systems under the direct supervision of the municipal corporations in the two cities of Ludhiana and Amritsar through city-level water utilities.
  • The project will also provide sub-grants to all municipal corporations in the state to finance critical non-medical interventions that address impacts of the Covid crisis, and to improve their readiness to tackle disasters.

The development assumes significance as the WB and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) had in April and July, respectively, approved their respective 35 per cent financial aid share of $105-million dollar each for the Punjab Municipal Services Improvement Project (PMSIP) to strengthen the urban services in Ludhiana and Amritsar, the two largest cities in the state. The remaining 30 per cent share, which amounts to $90-million, will be borne by the state government.

Deputy Commissioner Varinder Kumar Sharma told The Tribune, here, on Thursday that the objective of the project was to shift from groundwater to surface water for quenching the thirst of Ludhiana residents on a 24x7 basis.

He said the surface water supply scheme would be executed in two phases, comprising raw water system, WTP, treated water pumping, transmission mains from the WTP to overhead service reservoirs (OHSRs) and constructing OHSRs in the first leg while Phase II will entail distribution system and house service connection with metering.

Divulging the current status of the project, MC Commissioner Pardeep Kumar Sabharwal said Phase I works would be executed by the civic body with the support of the World Bank while Phase II works would be taken up subsequently under other schemes.

He said 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 the Sidhwan canal, construction of the 580-MLD capacity WTP at Bilga village, laying of 175-180-km-long transmission mainline of 150 mm to 2,000 mm and 55 new OHWRs.

MC Additional Commissioner Aditya Dachalwal said the land acquired for the WTP, located near Bilga village, was adjacent to the proposed raw water source of distributary from the Sidhwan canal.

He said the resolution for volumetric water tariff had been approved by the MC General House on November 10 while the House on November 1 had approved the setting up of WSS utility.

The MC Commissioner said of the overall scheme cost of Rs 3,394.45 crore, Phase I works would cost Rs 1,252.51 crore, including land cost, while the Phase II projects would be undertaken at the cost of 2,141.94 crore, including Rs 700 crore for 10 years of operation and maintenance.

Project report

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.

Then Chief Secretary, Vini Mahajan, had assigned the Punjab Municipal Infrastructure Development Corporation (PMIDC) under the Local Government Department to initiate the PMSIP aimed at improving service delivery in Ludhiana and Amritsar by strengthening municipal governance finance and service delivery systems and capacities for the project with technical and financial support of the WB and AIIB financing.

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. Improvements in the water supply will benefit over 3 million persons 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.

Project under WB review

The land for the WTP and other ancillaries was acquired after being reviewed at the level of the World Bank for conducting social and environmental studies.

The RFP to engage contractors on the design, build, operate and transfer (DBOT) basis has also been forwarded to the WB for approval, following which tenders will be floated likely by next month.

Present status

At present, Ludhiana and Amritsar draw their water by pumping out groundwater from hundreds of borewells dug up across the two cities. Pumping groundwater directly from the borewells 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.

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