The Japanese delegates during the presentation at the RMC office in Ranchi on Thursday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
A mega drainage and sewerage project that can end the state capital’s garbage woes looks set to be delayed even before beginning of work because of two certain factors — land hurdle and the upcoming state Assembly elections.
Officials of Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC), which is at present concerned with Zone II of the project (there are three more zones), are apprehensive that the land acquisition process for building pumping stations will not be completed on time as no progress has been made in any sphere till now.
This will come in the way of getting loans for the work, which has been pegged at no less than Rs 1,500 crore.
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), a company that provides loan for development projects, has sent a delegation to Ranchi to hold meetings with the urban development department and RMC officials. The team has made it clear that it will be able to sanction funds only after the land is available.
Besides, approvals have to be procured from the central government, which will sign the loan agreement with JICA, which is also a time-taking process.
Approximately 300km of sewerage and 500km of drainage pipelines will laid in Zone II, comprising central Ranchi, including localities like Upper Bazar, Tharpakhna, Kokar and other densely populated areas, under the project.
“This project envisages linking all households with a network of underground pipelines, which will ultimately take the collected garbage to sewerage treatment plants. After getting treated at the plants, the waste matter will be discharged in the river. But the issue is that we are already lagging behind. Going by the loan agreement norms, the DPR has to be approved first by the state urban development department and then the state government and sent to the Union ministry. Finally, it will reach the Union finance ministry. It’s a long-drawn process and with Jharkhand going to Assembly polls, things are set to be delayed,” said an RMC official, who has put his heart and mind in preparing the new sewerage and drainage plan for the city.
The JICA delegation, which is in the state capital to hold discussions on the DPR that is yet to be ready, informed that initially, they were looking into the only sewerage part, but now drainage has also been included.
“Under the new plan, six sewerage treatment plants are to come up in Zone for which land is required. Unless land acquisition is done, the loan agreement cannot be signed,” clarified M.P. Singh, additional chief development specialist, JICA India office, adding that the project cost would be roughly around Rs 1,500 crore.
Asked for a tentative timeline, he said, “We are expecting the loan agreement by March 2015. If it is done, then work can start by next year-end. It will take another seven to eight years for completion.”
According to deputy CEO of RMC Om Prakash Shah, Zone II alone releases 80 million litres of sewer water per day. “It’s mammoth project. The JICA team is thus stressing on a meeting with the deputy commissioner so that land acquisition process could be speeded up.”
Prodded further, he also maintained that without the loan agreement, no work could proceed.