Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Feb 14: The two water supply projects funded by Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in the city are likely to miss another target date for completion, sparking resentment among the citizens who have been already dismayed by the inordinate delay in execution of the projects.

The original schedule of the South Central and North projects was March 2009-January 2017. They were to be completed in 94 months.

However, nearly eleven years after work on them begun, the physical progress as of date is around 70 per cent. It had already missed the two-year extended target of 2019. An official today said the new target for completing the project has been set for July 2022.

Engineers involved in the project say they are in a position to provide water to 5,000 households as of date.

South Central GMA will be supplied water from a 191 MLD WTP located at Kharguli and Northern GMA will be supplied water from a 37 MLD WTP located at Amingaon, under a project funded by JICA.

While the first phase of the project to supply water to a few households in the city was inaugurated in November last, officials had blamed last year’s COVID-19 pandemic for the delay of the project which began eleven years back.

The fallout of the delay is indiscriminate and unregulated boring for groundwater in the city by the residents. The water table has gone down drastically and even after a short period of operation, the borewells are failing too.

“Even after a river like the Brahmaputra flowing through the vicinity of Guwahati city, the taxpaying citizens of this ‘Smart City ‘ have to struggle every day for meeting the daily need for water. It is a shame for the government,” a resident rued.

Even those in government circles feel that lack of proper monitoring, shoddy execution and accountability have made the project a “sorry mess”. “Role of JICA should have been more proactive in demanding status and progress reports on time so that accountability could have been fixed and the project could have been easily completed in mission mode,” they felt.

Furthermore, indiscriminate digging has destroyed the city roads. The reasons are a total lack of planning and assignment of contracts to multiple sub-contractors. Due to these, there have been frequent confrontations with the PWD.

Meanwhile, a team from JICA is in the city to review the projects funded by the agency. The team has visited the water supply project sites. The Japanese ambassador is also accompanying the team.

Two other water supply projects are being executed in the city – one funded by ADB and one by JNNURM. These projects together aim to cover the entire estimated population with per capita supply of 135 LPCD in the year 2025 (21,80,000) and the facilities are being designed with an expected capacity upgrade in the later years to meet the water demand of the estimated population in the year 2040 (32,32,000).