Delhi Jal Board claims that it needs Rs. 1,000 crore more to finish the ongoing projects at Dwarka and Okhla and two others for the Commonwealth Games

Unable to juggle its resources to meet the expenditure being incurred on various ongoing and upcoming projects, the Delhi Jal Board has asked its chairperson Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit to request the Planning Commission for an increase in its allocation.

On Friday when the Chief Minister met the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission for finalisation of the Annual Plan for the State, the Board had its fingers crossed. Incidentally in May this year the Chief Minister had announced that there would be “no dearth of funds for the execution of DJB projects which are in tune with basic requirements of all Delhiites.”

The Board, which is currently undertaking construction of two water treatment plants at Dwarka and Okhla apart from several other works related to augmenting drinking water supply and improving the sewerage systems, claims it needs at least Rs.1,000 crore more.

Sources told The Hindu that work related to the construction of the 40 MGD water treatment plant at Dwarka and a 20 MGD water treatment plant and a 30 MGD sewage treatment plant both at Okhla has been slowed down because of financial constraints.

“Work is going on, but the pace is not satisfactory. Only 10 to 15 per cent of the work at the Dwarka plant is complete, while only 30 per cent work is complete at the Okhla plant. There are some financial constraints and it’s difficult to fit in all the projects within the sanctioned money,” said the source.

The Board had decided to commission 20 underground reservoirs by December 2009 to the streamline water distribution system. It has began work on the 1 MGD water treatment plant and sewerage treatment plant exclusively for the Commonwealth Games Village, both of which are pegged at Rs.102 crore.

“Almost 50 km of trunk sewers need to be rehabilitated, sewer lines in unauthorised-regularised colonies have to been provided, water and sewerage system has to be enhanced; all this requires money. The DJB has been given a little over Rs.1,100 crore, which is down from the past year’s Rs.1,400 crore,” said sources.

“Though there is no immediate worry, but the Dwarka plant has to become functional by the beginning of 2010, because the airport is meant to receive water supply from here,” sources added.

To improve its financial condition, Delhi Jal Board has also begun an intensive drive to step up its revenue collection. A series of initiatives like dispensing with waivers and improving bill collection have been launched.

“The Jal Board needs to do everything that it can to improve its financial condition. While it has petitioned the Government for more even in the present scenario of cutbacks and recession, it is making efforts to make the most of what it has,” said sources.

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