At a time when the Water Resources Department and the Kerala Water Authority are basking in the afterglow of the commissioning of the Japan International Cooperation Agency-aided scheme in the city, a 10-year-old water supply project, designed to provide water to eight panchayats adjoining the capital city, is fighting for life.

The latest hurdle in the path of the scheme is that a 1,000-page tender document for awarding a contract to lay a ‘reach' of the pumping main pipeline has gone ‘missing' from the Secretariat here.

It was in 2000 that the foundation stone for the Ayilamkadavu drinking water scheme was laid. The project was designed to generate 11 million litres of drinking water a day for five panchayats in Kazhakuttam, one in Attingal and two in Kilimanoor. The sanctioned outlay for the Centrally-funded scheme was Rs.21 crore.

The treatment plant at Velamkode was completed about four years ago and of the two reaches of the pumping main lines, one has been completed. Seven overhead storage reservoirs have been constructed. The pumps necessary for providing water to the treatment plant are in place. The entire distribution system is, however, yet to be laid.

Sources in the KWA said it would cost another Rs.20 crore for the scheme to be commissioned.

“I have spent the last 10 years running from pillar to post trying to get this scheme commissioned,” Kazhakuttam MLA M.A. Wahid told The Hindu. “It is sheer bureaucratic ineptitude on the part of the KWA that has stalled this scheme for a decade.”

The ‘misplaced' tender for Rs.11 crores had been cleared by the Chief Technical Examiner and was on its way to the empowered committee, headed by the Chief Secretary. That was in March. If the tender document is not found, the work may have to be re-tendered. This will only add to the delays bedevilling the scheme.

Mr. Wahid, though, says there is a ray of hope.

“Both the Finance Minister and the Minister for Water Resources have, I understand, asked the Chief Secretary to send the matter directly to the Cabinet. If the Cabinet approves this tender, then the work can be awarded. The actual laying of the pipelines will only take about three months,” he said.

The empowered committee is scheduled to meet on May 27 and expected to discuss the issue, he added.