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Water project fails to meet deadline again

Shillong, Oct. 23: The Greater Shillong Water Supply Scheme (GSWSS) Phase III failed to meet its deadline again yesterday after being delayed for the past three years.

The project, funded by the Centre and the state, is estimated to cost around Rs 193 crore. Former President Pratibha Patil had laid its foundation stone on October 22, 2008, at Mawphlang, about 25km from here, where the main dam is located.

GSWSS Phase III was funded by the Centre under the erstwhile Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewable Mission (JNNURM) now known as the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (Amrut) to improve water supply in Shillong.

Meghalaya public health engineering minister Prestone Tynsong said there were various reasons for the eight-year delay.

"The state government's inability to implement some reforms, including formation of urban civic bodies, as instructed by the Centre, is one such reason. This delayed the release of funds by the Centre. The state government had tried its best to implement the reforms in urban areas, including conducting municipal polls, but it could not be held because of protests from various quarters," he said.

The PHE minister said the Centre was supposed to release funds in four instalments, of which they delayed the second instalment and released it only after negotiations.

"The state government has to pay a sum of money as penalty for failing to ensure the reforms," Tynsong said, adding that the Centre had recently released Rs 43 crore in the third instalment and the money is still lying with the state finance department.

He said no deadline could be fixed as the state government was unsure about the release of the fourth instalment. Earlier, the project's deadline was March 2013, later it was shifted to March 2015.

Several works, including the laying of pipelines and construction of zonal reservoirs across the city, are pending. The blue-water pipes of various sizes have been left abandoned throughout Shillong.

The project is expected to generate 24 million litres of water per day and provide up to 135 litres per head per day of drinking water to over five lakh residents of Shillong city and its suburbs.

Apart from the GSWSS Phase III, Meghalaya also failed to complete projects such as the construction of an Assembly building. Legislators in Meghalaya are yet to have their own Assembly building for nearly 16 years now after the 125-year -old heritage structure, which housed the Assembly at Khyndai Lad here, was reduced to ashes by a fire on January 9, 2001.

It took decades for the state to complete the Myntdu-Leshka Hydel Power Project Stage I in West Jaintia Hills. The then Meghalaya State Electricity Board (MeSEB), now known as the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL), had started investigation into the matter in 1975-76. After years of dillydallying, the 126-megawatt power project started commissioning on February 29, 2012, with the inauguration of its first unit.

 


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