GUWAHATI, May 19 - The Assam Urban Water Supply and Sewerage Board has said that there are 16 new water supply schemes in the pipeline and another 24 schemes at the augmentation stage in the State.
With six division offices (each headed by an Executive Engineer) under the board, 60 towns of Assam are being taken up for water supply schemes. At present, there are 27 functional schemes under the board catering to more than 20,200 households.
There are 371 employees under the board, which include 241 work-charged employees and 17 fixed pay employees posted in various water supply schemes of the board and are committed to providing safe and reliable water to the consumers.
The board is also constantly working to improve the service delivery with the changing customer needs. A major challenge faced by the board is that it is presently running under deficit due to insufficient consumer base. The water tariff collected from the consumers is the only source of revenue for the board. All the expenditures like salary, monthly electricity bills, regular chemical consumption, operation and maintenance cost, including the administrative cost of the board, has to be met from this revenue.
The average monthly revenue earned by the board is Rs 60 lakh, whereas the expenditure is about Rs 110 lakh per month (as calculated for the last six months).
However, there have been continuous efforts to increase the revenue. The revival plan of the board includes immediate commissioning of some of the schemes that are ready for operation. They include:
1. The Mirza Palasbari Water Supply Scheme, which is ready for trial run and is expected to be commissioned by June 2020.
2. The Sonari Water Supply Scheme, expected to be commissioned by June 2020.
3. The Bilasipara Water Supply Scheme, expected to be commissioned by June 2020.
4. The Mangaldai Water Supply Scheme, the trial run of which is in progress.
5. The Makum Water Supply Scheme, expected to be commissioned by September 2020.
6. The Margherita Water Supply Scheme, expected to be commissioned by September 2020.
The board has also been growing with modern technological advancements and has devised new methodologies to cope with the changing customer needs and stakeholder demands, which include taking up new schemes on turnkey basis and in a time-bound manner, process innovation through investment in modern technology like digital office, using of GEM portal for procurement and e-tendering for efficiency and better transparency, among others.
Many repairing works as well as services like bill disbursement are continuously being carried out by the field staff headed by the Executive Engineers during the period of lockdown.
The board under the guidance of its chairman Dr Numol Momin and vice chairman Niren Baishya, with support and advice from Urban Development Department Minister Pijush Hazarika, is looking forward to a very promising future.
Several major projects are also being taken up by the board. The Government of Assam has also sanctioned an amount of Rs 726 lakh to the board in the financial year of 2019-20 as a one-time grant to meet the pending liabilities of the Board and revamp it.