Uproar by Corporators, both Congress & BJP during Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC) Council Meeting regarding Water Crisis, and Failed 24×7 Jala Siri Project
Mangaluru: Corporators in the Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC) council united to raise concern over the water crisis prevailing in various wards in the city, and alleged that the Jalasiri 24×7 drinking water project had failed. The second phase of the Asian Development Bank (ADB)-funded project is implemented by Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development and Finance Corporation (KUIDFC) under the Karnataka Integrated Urban Water Management Investment Programme (KIUWMIP), at an estimated cost of Rs 792.4 crore, through Suez Projects Pvt Ltd.
During the general meeting held on Wednesday, the former Leader of the Opposition in the council Naveen R. D’Souza from Bendoor ward said a pilot project under Jalasiri was taken up in Bendore ward. “The irony is that after the commissioning of the pilot project, households are receiving water for only an hour. Earlier, residents were receiving water for 10 hours. The Jalasiri project has failed, and the officials concerned are irresponsible. After my ward was selected as the pilot zone for supplying water round the clock under the Jala Siri project, the water supply was reduced from 10 hours a day to one hour a day. People in Vas Lane, Shivabagh, and Athena Hospital area are fed up now. My ward never faced such scarcity and irregular supply earlier,” he said and rushed to the Well of the council hall and slept there for some time as a mark of protest. Later, all Congress corporators joined him, demanding a solution to the water issue in the city limits.
The former Deputy Mayor and councillor of Central Market ward Ms Poornima said some houses and establishments in her ward had not got water for a week. “Since my ward is in the central business district area, open wells are contaminated due to leakage of sewage from the underground drainage network. Hence, people are not in a position to use well water. Water supply from the corporation is irregular,” she said. Ashraf from the Bajal ward said the Jalligudde area has been facing irregular water supply for two months.
Opposition members also joined him in the protest, which was withdrawn later. Responding to it, an executive engineer in charge of the Jala Siri project told the council that 3.2 MLD of water is required for supplying to the Bendoor pilot zone. The required quantity of water is not available. Hence water is being supplied through the newly laid network of pipelines for an hour for about 500 houses. Earlier Bendoor ward was getting water through the old network of pipelines for about 10 hours a day.
Congress corporator A.C. Vinayraj told the council that the entire Jala Siri project is in shambles. Senior officers in charge of the project and the project consultant are not bothered to complete the project on time with the deadline now being extended till May 23, 2024. “The project authorities have still not identified 58 water supply zones. The three pilot zones under the project are supposed to get a round-the-clock water supply by now. But where are the pilot zones?” he questioned. Vinayraj said that unless the project was hastened and it became a reality, no payment should be made to the project-related authorities.
He sought a change of guard at the top level of the project implementation unit. The whip in the council and former Mayor Premananda Shetty too concurred with Vinayraj. When other councillors also spoke, Mayor Sudheer Shetty Kannur agreed that many wards in the city faced irregular water supply. The Mayor said that he would call a meeting on February 8 specifically to discuss the progress of the Jala Siri project. The authorities should submit the progress report at the meeting
Corporator AC Vinayaraj said that the authorities have failed to identify 54 zones created for the supply of water in all 60 wards. There is a lack of coordination between officials from Kudcemp, MCC and representatives of Suez, he said. He expressed doubt over the completion of the Jalasiri project by May this year. Chief whip in the council Premananda Shetty said that the bills for the work implemented by the contractor should not be cleared till they are verified. Mayor Sudheer Shetty Kannur said that a meeting will be convened to discuss the progress of the Jalasiri project on Feb 8. He told officials to provide details about the project’s progress.
A corporator alleged that piggeries were discharging wastewater into a lake. He alleged that the water source in Bolpur Gudde is getting polluted, to which the mayor said that he had directed the health officer to visit the spot for inspection. The concern was also raised during the phone-in programme. MCC commissioner Anand CL promised to look into the issue and solve it as soon as possible.