Electrical works for the Muttathara sewage treatment plant have been completed and the unit would be commissioned on June 30, said sources associated with the funding agency, Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Project (KSUDP). The pre-commissioning activities will begin by the second week of June. Officials hope that the plant would start functioning from July 15 after one-month trial phase.
The KSUDP empowerment committee meeting was held on Wednesday. It was decided to re-tender the works associated with the branches for the expansion of the sewerage network. This, they said, would not impact the completion of construction activities at the plant and that by mid-July, the modern plant would begin processing 40 million litres a day, which is being collected from the city at present. This existing network would include only 35 per cent of the area within the Corporation limits.
The plant, which is Centrally-funded under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), will have capacity of 107 MLD. To reach this figure, the network would have to be laid out to all peripheral wards. The entire network cannot be taken up during the year, but may take up to five years. Hence, this would figure under the next phase of JNNURM.
The Empowerment Committee includes the five Corporation Mayors, who boycotted the meeting in protest against, what they claimed, was the dominance of officials and the sidelining of democratically elected representatives. Mayor K. Chandrika told The Hindu that the tenders should be awarded now as the funds would lapse in March 2014
Ajit Kumar, KSUDP project director, explained that tenders had to be recalled as the verification of estimate costs revealed that they were on the higher side. For instance, as per the 2012 Schedule of Rates, the cost of stoneware pipes is Rs. 65 a unit and the estimate prepared by contractors quoted Rs. 97. This would run into crores of rupees. Moreover, even if they were to award tenders immediately, the monsoon would impede any development and therefore they can use those two months to recast the estimates and analyse the bids.