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Drinking water woes in Dharan
DHARAN, April 4: A drinking water project in Dharan Municipality that aimed to supply water across the city 24 hours a day, initiated under Urban Development Project of Nepal Water Supply Corporation three years ago, is in limbo due to negligence of consulting company and contractor.
For the project, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) had provided $22 million in loan and grant. The project was slated to be completed by June 2017. However, it did not happen and the deadline was extended by nine months. But even the extended deadline has already ended on April 1 this year, and the project is yet to be completed.
Showing technical difficulties, the project's consulting company Building Designing Authority (BDA) and contractor Tanjin-Tundi JV have asked for additional six months to complete the project.
“The additional time ended on Sunday, and it is obvious that more time should be given to complete the project. The contactor has asked for six more months. We will forward the request to the government through the municipality,” said project head Raju Pokharel.
Using water from seven wells built in Charkose Jungle in Dharan, five sub-systems of pipe line—Railway sub-system, Pindeshowr sub-system, Sumnima sub-system, Fussre sub-system and Pancheshowr sub-system—were built. However, the local Kirat and Rai communities objected to build reservoir of Pancheshowr sub-system at the Bijyapur ground at Charkose Jungle stating that the place holds historic and cultural importance. As many as 117 trees were cut down for the purpose.
Nevertheless, due to the negligence of the BDA and Tanjin-Tundi JV, the works of other four sub-systems are also not completed. It has affected the entire supply of drinking water to the city.
The consulting company did not mention two materials required for construction works -- cup-link and steel nut-bolts -- while submitting bill of quantity. It delayed the entire procurement process, which ultimately delayed of the entire project. Now both the companies are blaming each other for the fault.
Dharan faces water scarcity during Chaitra to Jestha months (March-May), also known as dry season. According to the cooperation, the demand for drinking water is around 30 million liters daily. Only 12 million liters of water is supplied in the dry season. Water is supplied from four wells of the cooperation located in the Charkose Jungle. Power cuts and the malfunctioning of one of the pumps of the corporation have added to the woes of water supply in the city.
To manage the current crisis, water generated for Sumnima and Pindeshwor sub-systems has been bypassed to the corporation’s water tank. This has helped in maintaining the quantity of water supply to the level before the damage in the pump. According to Ram Kumar Shrestha, head of the corporation’s Dharan branch, water demand has been maintained to some extent through the project’s water diverted to the corporation’s tank. The corporation is also working for the maintenance of the well, according to him.
Shrestha said that Dharan sees water crisis during this time of the year. But dry season is not the only reason for water scarcity in the city. The corporation was not interested in extending sources of water in the past three years, after the commencement of the ADB-funded project. But they have installed five thousand additional water taps in the meantime.
“We couldn’t meet the increasing demand of water as the source of water is the same and consumers are increasing every day. Our head office has not allocated budget for us to find additional water sources after the ADB project started. So, we are using water from sources that existed three years back. If the ADB project is completed, Dharan will not have any water crisis," Shrestha said.