Jinx is the middle name of Mango’s drinking water dream.
Commissioning of the ambitious Rs 64.18-crore lifeline project failed for the eighth time on Monday, for reasons best known to drinking water and sanitation department, prolonging the wait for pure water of nearly 300,000 residents of this underprivileged city neighbourhood.
Mango drinking water project was envisioned to supply 48 million litres every day from six towers, a modernised filter and treatment plant and an intake well for the next 24 years. The project has missed several deadlines since the first on August 2011 (see box) and chief minister Hemant Soren did not show up to inaugurate it on this June 30 either.
“We (drinking water and sanitation department) had sent a proposal for commissioning of the project to the chief minister’s office. However, there has been no communication. We think Hul Diwas celebrations might have prevented him (Hemant) from coming to the city. We will fix a fresh date for launching the project,” said the department’s Adityapur division executive engineer Najre Imam.
However, insiders said protests over hasty inauguration of the mega drinking water facility had forced the authorities to defer the date again.
A section of Mango residents already see “several flaws” in the project because the government “is bent on launching the facility in a haste” without taking into account ground realities. Residents had taken out torch rally and burnt the effigy of Hemant on Sunday evening in protest against the proposed inauguration of the water project on Monday.
“Work at the water tower at MGM Medical College and Sankosai are yet to be completed. Also, pipelines for the project are yet to be laid in 40 per cent area. Some have developed leak during trial runs. We cannot let this project be inaugurated in such a manner. The government is trying to use it as poll plank,” claimed BJP leader and Mango Nagar Vikas Samiti’s senior functionary Binod Singh.
East Singhbhum additional deputy commissioner (ADC) Ganesh Kumar said issues related to leaking pipes and power pangs were being sorted out.
“During trial runs, pipe leak is a normal phenomenon. We have asked Jusco (the executing agency of the project) to repair punctures. We have also held talks with Jharkhand Urja Vikas Nigam Limited (formerly JSEB) for installing a separate feeder for the water project so that supply is not affected during power cuts,” Kumar said.
The ADC added that Mango Notified Area Committee (MNAC) had already prepared a fresh and detailed project report for the second phase of the project in which areas, where pipelines had not been laid, had been incorporated.
“The DPR has already been sent for the state urban development department’s final approval. Many localities, which were not included in the first phase, have now been brought under ambit. We hope to get approval for the second phase pipeline tender at the earliest.”
He, however, refused to spell out deadlines.