Town Municipal Council says the progress of work is agonisingly slow

What was supposed to be an answer to their long-pending drainage woes, the delayed and shoddy implementation of the Rs. 65.72-crore underground drainage network in Ullal has residents fuming.

The project, executed by Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board (KUWSDB), features 77.94 km of sewer lines, 2,562 manholes, two sewage treatment plants (STP), and 12 wet wells. Although scheduled for completion in mid-2013, even on Thursday bare pipes lay stacked by the side of the road, while a lone earth mover prodded away.

Basil D’ Souza, president of Ullal Town Municipal Council (TMC), said the progress was agonisingly slow while the completed tasks had been “shoddily done”. “The Council is flooded with complaints of cut water lines, cut electricity lines, badly-patched roads, and dumping of mud in front of the houses. Our repeated calls to the contractors go in vain. We are helpless as there is no clarity on the work they are doing, we do not have engineers of our own to cross-check their work,” he said.

After the initiation of the progress, life had become difficult, said Arif Mohammad, a resident near Ullal Darga. “Dug up roads are not patched up for months and even the patching is badly done. Manholes stick out inches from the middle of the road, and this is dangerous for motorists,” he said. Similarly, Taranath who travels to Someshwar through Ullal, said it was a nightmare to traverse the roads.

Although there was a long-pending demand for better sanitation facilities in the upcoming suburb, the project gained momentum only after Karnataka High Court directed the State government to install UGD in the area before allotting 390 Ashraya houses in Ombattukere for the economically backward families.

The TMC estimates that over 1 lakh people live in the Council limits, and the UGD was a key infrastructure project for the town. “Many apartments have started coming up after the project was announced. A few opened too, but there are no takers because the drainage facilities are not complete,” said Mohammad Mukacherri, councillor.

Reason

L.N. Anand, Executive Engineer, KUWSDB, Mangalore, said that only 40 per cent of the work could be completed because of the delays in pipe acquisition (after the government decreed that even excess pipes needed to be acquired through tenders) and delays in land acquisition for the STPs and wet wells. “Laying of the pipelines will be complete in June 2013. We have given acquisition details to the district administration. It will take us one-and-a-half years after the land has been acquired to complete the project,” he said.

Blaming narrow roads for the allegations of having done a shoddy job, he said manholes needed at least 3 metres of space and “some water lines and electricity lines may have been cut” as workers tried to find space.

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