POKHARA, July 9: Pipeline expansion project in Pokhara has been halted due to insufficient funds. Nepal Water Supply Corporation (NWSC), Pokhara had started the works for installing DI pipes of 20 inches in Pokhara bazaar to address the increasing need for drinking water in the city.
Works related to installing of the pipes were halted when the pipeline reached Srijana Chowk. The corporation has planned to expand the pipeline to Prithvi Chowk next year. Currently, the corporation uses old and small-sized pipes to supply water to the locals. Chief of the Pokhara chapter of the corporation Niran Maharjan revealed that the pipeline will be installed between a reservoir near Bindhabasini temple to Zero Kilometer under the expansion project.
“We have installed as many pipes as we could acquire with the budget,” he said, adding, “We can complete the project in three to four years if we are provided with sufficient budget.”
Although a budget of about Rs 3 billion is needed for the entire project and the corporation has been demanding Rs 500 million annually, the government has been providing a meager amount of Rs 50 million per annum for the project.
The corporation has realized the need of a 300-kilometer long network of pipes in the bazaar to address the shortage of drinking water in the city. “Even though a 110-kilometer pipeline has already been installed from the source in Mardi Khola to the bazaar, there is still the need of 200-kilometer of pipeline,” Maharjan said, adding that the households will get water for eight hours on a daily basis after the pipeline is installed.
“Since the old 16-inche wide pipe is in use, the households only get water on alternate days,” Maharjan said, adding, “We are expanding the pipeline to address this problem.”
Technical Officer of the corporation Dinesh Prasad Yadav said that the expansion works will be carried out to the point where pipes in stock can be used. He accused the government of being greedy in addressing the problem of basic needs of drinking water.
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which has been working in the field of supply of safe drinking water in Pokhara, has been playing a supporting role in the expansion project by helping acquire the new 20-inch wide pipes. It has already passed a tender to a Japanese consultancy for the treatment process of the water. NWSC has revealed that the agency is planning to set up centers for the supply of water at Dharmasthali, Fulbari, and Kolpatan. The corporation has estimated a budget of about Rs 5 billion for the project.