Minister justifies move on bottled water plant

‘Handed over to KIIDC for KWA to focus on supply projects’

Water Resources Minister K. Krishnankutty on Wednesday justified the decision to issue orders handing over the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) bottled water plant at Aruvikkara to the Kerala Irrigation Infrastructure Development Corporation (KIIDC) stating that the KWA needed to concentrate on water supply projects and tackling a potential drought.

The Water Resources Department had issued orders on February 28 handing over the plant to the KIIDC on a seven-year lease subject to a formal agreement between the KIIDC and the KWA. The decision had drawn sharp criticism from employees’ unions. The KWA Employees’ Union had burned a copy of the order in protest. In a written reply to the Assembly, Mr. Krishnankutty said the facility would function once the agreement is signed. The KWA is responsible for implementing water supply projects worth ₹9,000 crore funded under the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board, Asian Development Bank, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, and State Plan. This is in addition to the Centrally sponsored Jal Jeevan Mission which aims to provide all rural households with water connections by 2025, he said.

Threat of water shortage

Also, there is an urgent need for the KWA, using its limited resources, to focus on tackling a potential drought and water shortage this year, he added. The State government has pumped in ₹16 crore so far for the construction of the bottled water facility which has a capacity of 7,200 litres per hour. The civil, electrical and mechanical works were completed on May 22, 2019. Though the KWA had christened its brand ‘Thelineer’ it has been unable to launch commercial operations. The plant is yet to obtain the certification of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).

Pact within a month

Mr. Krishnankutty told the Assembly that it was not desirable to further delay its commissioning as the government had already spent a large amount on the facility. As per the order, the KWA and the KIIDC have to sign a pact within a month. On the strength of the February 28 order, KIIDC technical experts have begun inspections at the plant.

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Printable version | Jul 14, 2020 10:35:36 AM |

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