TWAD Board-constructed STP remains unused

deadlocked: Veerappan Chatram Municipality has failed to take up the maintenance of the sewage treatment plant constructed by the Tamil Nadu Water and Drainage Board.   | Photo Credit: – PHOTO:M.GOVARTHAN

Karthik Madhavan

Confusion over who will take up maintenance of the plant

ERODE: The sewage treatment plant and gas collection unit the Tamil Nadu Water and Drainage (TWAD) Board constructed for Rs. 2.19 crore remains unused.

The reason: Veerappan Chatram Municipality, which is supposed to take responsibility for the day-to-day functioning and maintenance of the facility, has not done so citing one reason or the other. The story goes back to July 2001, exactly eight years ago, when the Board, under the Union Government’s National River Action Plan, constructed sewage collection and treatment facility to treat sewage flowing through Pichaikaran Pallam Odai to protect River Cauvery.

The Board’s facility aimed at removing solid waste from the Odai sewage and then treating the water. It designed the treatment facility in such a way that sewage flows through a series of aeration tanks. In the last tank, it let the sunlight fall to help algae growth and tap gas.

The Board built the facility, proposed to treat 5.7 million litres a day, on a 4.5 acre plot near Vairapalayam and commissioned the plant in 2004.

Since then the Board has not been able to hand over the facility to the Veerappan Chatram Municipality. This is despite the fact that the civic body’s Council passed a resolution in February 2002 agreeing to take up maintenance work. As per TWAD Board’s calculation the maintenance worked out to Rs. 20.79 lakh. It also calculated the income from the sale of treated water, rich in content, for agriculture and the inflammable gas at Rs. 22.36 lakh. But nothing much happened, as the Municipality argued that since sewage from neighbouring Periya Semur Municipality, B.P. Agraharam Town Panchayat also flowed through the Odai, it was unfair to expect it to bear the entire maintenance cost.

The TWAD Board on its part said since the sewage treatment plant and other facilities existed in Veerappan Chatram Municipality’s limits, it ought to take responsibility.

The difference of opinion continues to date with the TWAD Board and Municipality sticking to their stands. To break the deadlock, the Managing Director of TWAD wrote a letter to the Commissioner for Municipal Administration asking for the STP’s take over.

In the meanwhile, the motor that pumps the sewage to the aeration tanks has been under repair for the past three months. This means that for the past three months the TWAD Board has not been able to treat the water.

In effect, sewage directly flows in to River Cauvery, negating the very purpose for which the Union Government spent Rs. 2.19 crore. Now TWAD has again written to the Commissioner for Municipal Administration seeking Rs. 2.6 lakh to repair the motors.