An open drain at Purulia Road in Ranchi on Sunday.
Picture by Hardeep Singh
An overhaul of the capital’s drainage and sewerage system is only likely to happen in the second phase of Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) as the city appears to have missed the first phase bus.
Though the state government sent the project proposal for a centralised drainage and sewerage system for Ranchi in March, the Centre has not sanctioned the project. Now state officials feel that the Centre has put the project proposal on the back-burner and no funds will be forthcoming as part of phase one.
“We had been waiting for the proposal to be approved. But the delay on the part of the Centre suggests that the proposal has been put on hold now,” said an official of the state urban development department.
The city makeover scheme of the Centre started in 2005. Phase one was extended by two years and ended on March 31, 2012.
In the seven years, the state government managed to get funds for a drinking water supply project and to build shelter for the poor under Basic Services for the Urban Poor scheme. While it managed to secure Rs 288 crore for drinking water, it bagged Rs 200 crore for construction of 8,928 dwelling units.
“Money is not going to come for drainage and sewerage under the first phase,” state urban development secretary Nitin Madan Kulkarni said. He added that the Centre had declared that no more fresh proposals for city makeover under JNNURM were being taken up. “Whatever proposals were sent in the last days before the first phase ended therefore, will be taken up only after the second phase is announced.”
The controversies surrounding the detailed project report (DPR) are being blamed for the state missing out funds for the drainage and sewerage system in the first phase.
In 2006, Singapore-based Meinhardt Pvt ltd was selected to prepare the DPR for the project through an open tender. However, the project got mired in controversy with a section of legislators alleging “foul play” in the selection process.
Subsequently in 2007, the Assembly constituted a committee, headed by former BJP MLA Sarayu Roy, to look into the matter. The panel submitted a report, confirming loopholes in the selection process. Meinhardt, in the meantime, handed over the DPR and asked Ranchi Municipal Corporation to clear its fees, which the latter could not as the controversy had not settled.
The company then sought the intervention of Jharkhand High Court. On April 25 last year, the court asked the state government to clear its dues.
While Rs 14 crore had already been given to the agency, in August last year the state released the rest of the fee amount — Rs 11 crore. The DPR was then studied by the civic body and forwarded to the urban development department, which against asked the civic body to make a few amendments in it.
Finally, the project proposal along with the DPR for the drainage and sewerage system of the state capital was forwarded to the Centre in March end — days before the first phase of JNNURM was to formally end.
The second phase of JNNURM is expected to roll out in the next few months.