Water supply of Hubballi-Dharwad is not being privatised, clarify Karnataka officials

Hubballi-Dharwad Mayor Iresh Anchatageri speaking at the inauguration of orientation programme in Hubballi on Thursday.

Hubballi-Dharwad Mayor Iresh Anchatageri speaking at the inauguration of orientation programme in Hubballi on Thursday. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Clarifying that handing over the water supply maintenance of Hubballi-Dharwad was in not a move towards privatisation, officials of Karnataka Urban Water supply Modernisation Project (KUWSMP) on Thursday said that the entire water supply infrastructure would be handed over back to the Hubballi-Dharwad Municipal Corporation (HDMC) after the contract period.

Speaking at an orientation programme for presspersons regarding the 24x7 water supply project, funded by the World Bank under KUWSMP and executed by Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation (KUIDFC) at Rayapur in Hubballi on Thursday, the authorities sought to clear, what they termed, some of the misconceptions among the public regarding the water supply.

Under the project it has been planned to extend the round-the-clock water supply project to all the 82 wards in the HDMC.

The 24x7 water supply project was first initiated in the twin cities back in 2006 in eight wards (four each in Hubballi and Dharwad) when there were 67 wards in all.

In 2008, the project was commissioned in the demo zones and subsequently it was extended to more wards. As of now out of the total 82 wards, 36 wards have 24x7 water supply scheme and work has begun in the remaining 46 wards under the DBOT (design, build, operate and transfer) module.

Elaborating on the project being executed by L&T in 46 wards, Superintending Engineer of KUWSMP’s Project Implementation Cell, Hubballi, M.K. Mangond clarified that the private company would only execute the work, create necessary infrastructure, maintain it for seven years, and then hand it over back to the municipal corporation.

He also clarified that the water supply tariff would be fixed by the HDMC and the private company would only have the responsibility of collection of water bills and maintenance of the system.

He said that the project implementation, which included laying of new pipeline, building reservoirs and treatment plants and other works, was scheduled to be completed by 2025.

However the project initiated in 2020, was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and it might be completed by 2026. As per the contract, the company would have to hand over the project back to the corporation in 2032, he said.

The total cost of the project is ₹1,207 crore, of which ₹623 crore has been funded by the World Bank, ₹65.17 crore by the State government, and the remaining ₹242 crore by the HDMC.

The operating and maintenance cost for seven years stood at ₹275 crore, he said.

He clarified that the project had been planned keeping in mind the water requirement of the population of 2053. While 181 million litres per day (MLD) were being lifted from the Amminabhavi water purification unit at present, it had been estimated that the demand would be for 224 MLD by 2053.

Considering the requirement, another 43 MLD water purification unit was being constructed at Amminabhavi, he said.

Mr. Managond said: “In addition to the existing two pipelines from Amminbhavi to Saraswathpur in Dharwad and to Nrupatunga Betta in Hubballi, a third pipeline of 19.2 km will be laid to Rayapur from Amminabhavi. An additional 23 reservoirs (groundlevel and overhead) will be constructed for facilitating 24x7 water supply,” he said.

Under the project, an intake well is being constructed at the Malaprabha reservoir to draw water from dead storage for drinking water supply if situation demanded it.

Interacting with the presspersons, Mr. Managond clarified that there would be public cisterns wherever necessary, but they would not be connected to the 24x7 water supply scheme and would be run using borewells.

To another query, he clarified that invariably all households would have water meters after the completion of work and there was provision for shared domestic supply connections for urban poor.

For the existing customers, there was 50% rebate for connection under the 24x7 scheme and the urban poor would have to pay only for the meters, he clarified.

Executive Manager of KUWSMP Sharanappa Sulagunte said that the idea was to reduce leakages and ensure an efficient water supply management system through the scheme.

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Printable version | Aug 12, 2022 10:21:41 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/it-is-not-privatisation-of-water-supply-clarify-karnataka-officials/article65758725.ece