Delay in sewer and water schemes serves as strong reminders
Fears over a heavy loan burden delayed the projects`Most of the wards without underground sewers are in the North Zone and East Zone'
COIMBATORE: It has taken nearly six years for an underground drainage scheme and a drinking water scheme for the city to come close to taking off.
There has been a similar delay in the implementation of water schemes for more than five local bodies in the suburbs.
Fears over a heavy loan burden had delayed the sewer and water schemes for the city.
The local bodies that had already been reeling under funds constraints dreaded loans.
Besides, councillors in the Coimbatore Corporation rejected many time the connection and monthly maintenance charges for the underground drainage scheme stating that they were too high.
Councillors from one half of the city that does not have underground sewers say that the delay has only contributed to health hazards.
People discharge waste water from houses or shops into open drainage canals that are meant to serve as only storm water drains.
When garbage and debris are also dumped into the drains, sewage stagnates and becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
These areas have been waiting for six years for the scheme for better hygiene. But discord over the charges led to more than 10 all-party meetings to arrive at affordable rates.
After shelving some components of the scheme, it has reached a stage where implementation may begin in a year.
Councillors say that most of the wards without underground sewers are in the North Zone and East Zone of the Corporation.
Candidates for the coming elections are also promising speedy implementation of the sewer scheme.
A section of the councillors had accused another of scuttling the scheme because the old city areas with an underground sewer will also have to pay maintenance charges once the new lines for the other part of the city is provided.
Now that it has been cleared by the Council also and Central Government funds are also being allocated for it, residents in Ganapathy, Saibaba Colony, Ramanathapuram, Singanallur and Ondipudur want the Corporation to take it up as the first scheme after the elections.
The Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's councillor from Ward 72 M. Krishnaswamy, says the Corporation cannot give any reason for any further delay, now that the Centre itself will provide 50 per cent funds for the scheme and the State Government 20 per cent.
Mr. Krishnaswamy, who has represented the ward since 1996 for two terms, admits that much time had been wasted because of the discord over maintenance charges. "Now, even lesser rates can be fixed as the Corporation needs to spend only 20 per cent of the total project cost of Rs.168 crores," he says.
Both elected representatives and residents' groups say that flyovers, subways and multi-tier parking lots the Corporation has planned should be implemented within a timeframe.
Otherwise, the growth information technology parks are going to bring about will render any delay too costly.
So is the case with the Pilloor second phase water scheme that is needed to meet the sharp rising demand for drinking water.