| Garbage chokes the Bharalu |
March 12: The city is set to have a well-laid sewerage system at least by 2020.
Chief minister Tarun Gogoi, in this budget speech, said the government was negotiating a loan of Rs 1,500 crore with the Japan International Co-operation Agency to introduce a comprehensive sewerage project covering all households which is likely to improve sanitation levels in the city by ensuring scientific disposal of sewerage.
Negotiations are on with JICA and the Rs 1,500-crore project should get cleared in two months. The sewerage project will also be the first one in the Northeast. A.K. Bhutani, the commissioner and secretary, Guwahati development department, told The Telegraph.
The project objective is to provide reliable sewerage services by constructing sewerage facilities and an extensive network of sewers in major parts of the city to improve sanitation and living conditions of people.
There is no sewerage system in the city except in some government or township areas.
In fact, lack of sewerage and inadequate solid waste management chokes the drainage system.
Bhutani said once the project is cleared in the next two months, the completion time for the project is seven years.
We wanted to have a state-of-the-art sewerage system for the city and are trying desperately for it, he said.
A source said the project should get cleared as the it is not likely to have any significant adverse impact on the environment under the JICA Guidelines for Environmental and Social Considerations (April, 2010) in terms of its sectors, characteristics and areas.
Once the project is cleared, the picture would become clear as to the different components involved and the way forward for its implementation.
We are now used to the process, as some externally-aided projects are under way in some urban areas, the source said.
A few days ago, the loan agreement with the ADB for bringing clean, piped water to nearly 350,000 people of the city was signed.
Once the loan agreement has been signed, money starts flowing in for the project.
The water supply sub-project will significantly augment supply and improve the quality of drinking water and wastewater treatment. Environmentally safe disposal of sewage and solid waste will help reduce water-borne diseases and improve public hygiene and health, said Venu Rajamony, joint secretary (multilateral institutions) in the department of economic affairs at the ministry of finance, who signed the agreement on behalf of the Centre.
An official said the only way to get huge funds for urban development projects is through externally aided projects as the state has to contribute only 10 per cent.
Gogoi has been talking of making the city beautiful and has appealed to the residents to set an example of cleanliness, as Guwahati is the gateway to the Northeast.