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Water ATMs remain non-functional, blame game gets upper hand


GUWAHATI, Dec 4 - The automated water dispensing units (ATMs) in the city, a project under the Guwahati Smart City Limited (GSCL), have been lying non-functional since September.

The main aim behind installing the water ATMs was to meet the safe drinking water requirements at public places in the city, but most of them are now lying either non-functional or unused. People can buy a minimum of 250 ml water for just one rupee.

The Government of Assam had launched several water ATMs in a phased manner at Chandmari (2), Silpukhuri (1), Paltan Bazar (3), Fancy Bazar (4), Panbazar (2), Nehru Park (1), Kacharighat (1), Mahavir Park (1), Gandhi Mandap (1), DC�s office (1), Regional Science Centre (1), Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute (1) and Gorchuk (1) in 2018 as part of the Smart City project.

Each of the water ATMs has a raw water tank with 2,000-litre capacity. For maintenance of the water ATMs, the GSCL gave a contract to Gurgaon-based M/s Swajal Water Private Limited. However, some unsolved issues between the contract holder and GSCL have severely affected the operation of the water ATMs.

�Most of the water ATMs have remained non-functional from the month of September. The term of the contract is over and since then they are lying unused,� a caretaker of a water ATM at Panbazar said.

Initially the contract for maintenance of all the water ATMs in the city had been provided for a period of five years. �Later the contract was revised to one year with the provision for renewal after completion of every term. However, there is no communication from the GSCL this time for renewal of the contract,� regional manager of Swajal Water Pvt Ltd Rakesh Roshan Sahu told The Assam Tribune.

�Moreover, the GSCL has not released our dues yet. I have been continuously contacting the GSCL but failed to get any response from the authorities,� Sahu added.

On the other hand, there have also been incidents of theft when there is no one to look after the water ATMs.

A source in the Guwahati Development Department (GDD) said that the contract was terminated for getting poor service from the private party. �A new tender has been floated for maintenance of the water ATMs,� the source added.

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