The project, dragging since 2003, will connect 60 per cent of Mangalore city

When the Congress takes over the reins of the of Mangalore City Corporation council in a few days, one of the key infrastructure projects started a decade ago, awaits its immediate attention.

As reflected in the party’s manifesto for the council election conducted last week, the Congress is keen to complete the Asian Development Bank-funded 355-km sewer network (underground drainage facility) and associated facilities. The manifesto promised that the project would be completed in six months and opened for public use.

M. Shashidhar Hegde, who was the Mayor between June 17 and June 28, 2003, and who has now been elected to the council for the fourth time as a Congress candidate, told The Hindu that the party would take up the sewer network issue on priority.

The people who have elected the party to power in the civic body would expect that the promise is kept.

Background

It was in 2003 that the government commenced the project, which now costs Rs. 214 crore. The Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development and Finance Corporation (KUIDFC) launched the project for Mangalore City Corporation (MCC) under a scheme called Karnataka Urban Development and Coastal Environment Management Project (KUDCEMP). The Congress ruled the corporation council then. Now the project, launched by the Congress-led State government, remains to be completed. Though the MCC is not directly responsible for its implementation the civic body is its beneficiary.

The project to provide new sewage network has taken many a turn. Although it began technically in 2003, in reality it took off only in 2007 because of various issues. The government terminated the contracts of five major contractors of the project in 2006 as they failed to perform. The work commenced the next year with new contractors. The corporation had to face some court cases relating to land acquisition. A case went up to the Supreme Court in which the corporation won.

Sources in the KUDCEMP told The Hindu that though only an aggregate of 1 km of the network remains to be laid, it crosses path with the Railways and therefore, expected to take some more time for completing. Permission of the Southern Railway was expected for laying main (trunk) line at railway crossings at Yekkur, Kulashekara and Shivnagar at Pandeshwar. A 2.75 cents of land was yet to be acquired for erecting an electrical transformer and house a diesel generator pump-set at Kodialguthu.

In addition, the sources said that some vet wells, at least 14 of them, and sewage treatment plants, two of them, were awaiting power connection. They said that the old sewage network in the city covered only 20 per cent area. The network under progress would cover 60 per cent area. The remaining 20 per cent area would be left out without the network.

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