Cuttack, Feb. 11: The state government has no reply yet to Orissa High Court’s query on how it plans to implement the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (Jica)-funded Rs 754.44-crore integrated sanitation project for Cuttack city in 28 months.
Chief minister Naveen Patnaik had laid the foundation stone for the sewerage and drainage project on October 1 last year, more than two years after completion of survey work.
But the Odisha government has failed to explain how it plans to implement the project. The plan is to have 230 km-long underground sewers and pumping stations in the city.
It includes building three sewage treatment plants and reconstruction of two existing storm water drains.
The clarification was sought on January 30, 2013, after a public interest litigation (PIL) urged the court to monitor execution of the Jica-assisted project for Cuttack. The completion time of the project had been reduced from five years to three years and finally to 28 months.
The court expected a response when the case came up on February 5. But the state counsel sought more time to file a counter affidavit with details on implementation of the project. The court gave the counsel one week to reply.
Former minister and two-time MLA of Cuttack city, Mustafiz Ahmed, who filed the petition, said reducing the deadline by over two and half years “raises doubt that the project will be completed without solving the problem of drainage”.
“Elaborate scrutiny of reconstruction of the two main drains and connecting drains of various sizes is warranted, as houses are attached to all drains with latrine pipe lines,” the PIL stated.
This project spells hope for Cuttack, a city plagued by a poor drainage and no sewerage system.
It is supposed to fix the age-old problem of temporary inundations in the city during heavy rains.
Of the Rs 754.44-crore project cost, Jica is loaning Rs 624.65 crore to be repaid by the Odisha government in 40 years, with a moratorium period of 10 years and interest rate of 0.75 per cent per annum. The rest will be borne by the state.
The project is being implemented by Odisha Water Supply and Sewerage Board under the housing and urban development department and is being managed by a Project Management Consultants, Consortium of Tokyo Engineering Consultants (Japan), Tetra Tech Inc of the US and Egis BCEOM International (France).