Coimbatore

‘Civic body will have overall control in water distribution’

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City residents urged not to get panic or fall prey to rumours

For you to taste Siruvani water, you will have to pay tax to French, is one of the several social media rumours doing the rounds in Coimbatore. The rumour relates to the 24x7 drinking water supply scheme that the Coimbatore Corporation has just started implementing with funds from the Central Government.

The civic body has awarded the contract to execute the project to the French multinational firm Suez Projects. The second rumour is that the city residents will have to only consume the water the private company, Suez Projects, supplies. And, they will get water only if they money and the quantity of water supplied will depend on the money paid by the consumer. If no money is paid, the company will not supply even a drop of water.

The rumours are doing the rounds notwithstanding the fact that the Corporation issued clarifications by way if a release it had issued a few days ago.

Officials in the civic body say either misinformed or ignorant elements are behind spreading such rumours as the company, Suez Projects, is executing the project only on its behalf. The Corporation has awarded the project, after due diligence at various stages and with Central and State governments’ approval at that.

They say that the company will replace all pipelines in the 60 wards (old 72 wards), fix water meters, build automated water supply management centre and maintain the infrastructure for supplying water to over 1.50 lakh consumers.

The company will execute the project in five years and maintain the system for 21 years, for which the Corporation has estimated the approximate cost at ₹2,961 crore. Throughout the execution and maintenance periods, the Corporation will retain control over the water, its authority to fix water consumption charges and also decide who should get connection and whose water connection is to be cut.

The contract awarded to Suez in no way authorises the company to decide water charges or which water connection to be cut.

Commissioner K. Vijayakarthikeyan says the existing arrangement that the Corporation will decide water charges with approval from the Corporation Council and State Government, that too after taking public objections into account, and the new rate will come into effect after a gazette publication will continue.

Therefore, there is no basis in the rumours and the city's residents need not panic.

The officials also say that the city’s residents will deposit the money in to a separate account the Corporation will maintain for the purpose. And, the power to operate the account will rest with the Corporation Commissioner.

Suez Projects will merely facilitate payment of money into the account by way of hand-held meters and operating payment centres.

On the checks and balances put in place, Mr. Vijayakarthikeyan says the State Government vetted the detailed project report prepared for the project. It also evaluated the tender in detail involving officials from Finance, Law, Municipal Administration and Water Supply departments and experts from the Tamil Nadu Infrastructure Development Board. Therefore, to suggest that the civic body has forgone its rights by implementing the project is wrong.

The officials complement him saying that the Corporation is also in the process of appointing an independent expert – project management consultant – who will evaluate the progress of the project in stages and only after the consultant certifies will the civic body release payments to Suez Projects.In short, the officials say that the Corporation will have an overall control in water distribution and that the residents need not panic or fall prey to rumours.

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Printable version | Dec 13, 2019 8:58:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/civic-body-will-have-overall-control-in-water-distribution/article24256015.ece

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