Amidst the controversy surrounding the government being pulled up by the Supreme Court for its alleged failure to install sewage treatment plants in all districts, the much-awaited Muttathara sewage treatment plant project in the State capital is yet to become operational.
Up to 90 per cent of the work on the plant was over by September last and officials were confident about a January 2013 commissioning. However, just like the project, which was launched in March 2009 with an October 2010 deadline, got bogged down by various issues earlier, the hopes of commissioning in January too were washed away.
Now, officials say the only remaining work was to provide power supply to the plant and that it might be commissioned in a month’s time. Work had commenced in August last to lay underground power cables from Veli to Muttathara. Though this was to be completed in two months, permission from the Public Works Department for digging up a PWD road to lay the cables had come late. Sources said the restoration charges of Rs.35 lakh would be deposited this week, after which the work was expected to be completed without further delay. The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) is handling this Rs.3.25 crore-component of the project. The Kerala Water Authority officials said work on laying a pipeline from the existing sewage farm to the plant was complete. The 1200-mm concrete pipeline is for a stretch of 942 metres.
KWA Managing Director Ashok Kumar Singh said the only delay was the provision of the power supply. Once that part was done with, the plant would be ready for operations, he said. An official from the Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Project (KSUDP), the funding agency for the project, meanwhile, said a temporary power connection might be arranged so that the plant could begin functioning at the earliest.
The Rs.80-crore plant, which has an original capacity of 107 million litres per day, will begin with the 40 MLD that is collected from the city at present. The project was actually slated to be completed by October 2010. However, frequent disruption of work, shortage of supplies and payment issues between the main contractors and implementation agencies applied brakes on the project.
The date of completion was later extended to November 2011, but by then only 70 per cent of the work, with an expenditure of about Rs.29 crore, was over. Ninety percent progress was recorded in September 2012, and the remaining has been dragging on since.