The Telegraph
Tuesday , February 11 , 2014
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Wait to turn on the taps
- Letter row over water kiosks

Bhubaneswar, Feb. 10: The municipal corporation has planned to revive six defunct drinking water kiosks and add four new ones across the city in collaboration with the Marwari Yuva Manch (MYM), but nothing has progressed, even as summer is round the corner.

While the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials have claimed that the MYM did not reply to their letter sent in July last, a senior office-bearer of the organisation denied having received any such communication last year.

As per the BMC-MYM collaboration, water kiosks at Vani Vihar Square (near Utkal University), Kalpana Square on NH-203, Forest Park, CRPF Square and Ananda Bazar (opposite the Regional Institute of Education) were to be revived.

While the plan to revive a sixth kiosk at Rupali Square at Saheed Nagar was struck down because of local issues, the MYM was to construct four new ones with their own fund. The BMC had to deposit the arrear power bills of the old kiosks and would pay the monthly bills of the water coolers.

However, to make the kiosks financially sustainable, MYM had decided to put up illuminated advertisement boards measuring 100sqft. They were also supposed to foot the power bill for the advertisement board. A decision was also taken to appoint a supervisor to maintain the kiosk.

However, president of MYM city chapter Mukesh Goenka said: “We have tried to get the permission from the BMC on several occasions. Our representatives made rounds of the corporation office, but has failed to get permission. This stopped us from starting work on the project.’’

Goenka, however, said that if the civic authorities had really issued any letter there could be a major communication gap. If that’s the case then it will be resolved shortly and work can start after discussions with BMC officials, he said. BMC secretary and in-charge of the corporation affairs (council of the civic body) Debashish Mohanty said: “The corporation had passed a resolution on May 31 last year.’’

After the resolution was adopted, a letter was sent in July, but as there had been no response from the MYM and the BMC got busy with poll preparations.

The revival of the kiosks was also delayed due to enforcement of the model code of conduct for BMC polls.

“We still have the time and before summer sets in, the kiosks can be revived,’’ said Mohanty.

Action on the project needs to be taken fast as the mercury is already hovering around 36°C during daytime.

On February 8, the city recorded 36.3°C indicating a gruelling summer this year.

“We are experiencing a difficult situation near Kalpana Square and it is just behind the BMC office. The water kiosk is lying defunct, while people are facing a hard time to quench their thirst,’’ said Pradyumna Mishra, a daily commuter.

Corporation’s executive engineer R.N. Mallick said: “The collaborator should be actively involved in the project. The coordination with the power distributor company for arrear bills and getting the water connection from the agency concerned should be coordinated by the MYM.’’

The engineer said that as the civic body was struggling with manpower crunch, the MYM could carry out the work and get the cost reimbursed from the civic body.