The plants that have failed to take off are placed in areas of acute water scarcity

Damp squib. That’s what a chain of desalination plants set up in the district to squeeze out drinking water has turned out to be.

The plants that have failed to take off sits in areas of acute water scarcity.

The Mulavukad Panchayat, which had installed a plant in its area, pulled the plug on power connection to the plant recently. The panchayat had been paying around Rs. 500 a month as power charges for the plant that could not produce a drop for the residents, said president Mulavukad panchayat A.K. Dinakaran.

Six years ago, three desalination plants were installed at Mulavukad, Kadamakudi and Chellanam panchayats at the behest of Harbour Engineering Department of the State government, spending Rs. 33.84 lakh.

The Mulavukad plant proved to be a dud in a few weeks after the plant roared off. The 20,000-litre water tank stands as a testimony to the failed project in an island with acute water scarcity.

Assistant Executive Engineer of the Department S. Girija said the Mulavukad plant had the capacity to process 10,000 litres a day. The project was handed over to the Mulavukad panchayat on January 16, 2006 in running condition.

Plants can develop snag. The panchayat should be able to bring in technicians to repair it. However, none had raised complaints over its functioning over the last few years, she said.

But the man during whose term it was built blames the lack of zeal in his successors to keep the plant going.

Former president of the panchayat K.P. Haridas said: “The plant was installed during the fag end of my term as the panchayat president. Successive administrators failed to take it forward.

Though it had been lying idle for around six years, it could still be made operational and water can be made available to the people”.

The current president too feels the plant can be brought to life. Mr. Dinakaran said the plant can be repaired. But the panchayat has not decided on it. Ideally, the plant should be inspected by an expert panel to find its feasibility, he said.

With piped water serving majority of the residents, the clamour for making the unit operational has muted.

Though piped water from the Pachalam Pump house of the Kerala Water Authority serves around 90 per cent of the residents, water is supplied in tanker lorries in Panampukad North, Vallarpadam and at two points in Mulavukad North. New pipelines would be laid in these areas and the possibility of ensuring cent per cent coverage will be undertaken, civic authorities said.

sudhi.ks@thehindu.co.in

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