SURKHET, Dec 16: Some 85 households of Dhoreni in Gurvakot Municipality-13 have been facing an acute shortage of drinking water since long back. So, the municipality designed a survey for a drinking water project last fiscal year.
The survey showed that a budget of Rs. 9.2 million would be required for distributing water from Lise in Gurvakot-14 to Dhoreni in ward-13. The municipality sanctioned Rs. 2.6 million from the current budget for the project. The locals formed a consumers committee and the municipality handed over Rs. 856,000 to the committee as a first tranche. The committee later purchased pipes and started laying them.
Last week, Thammar Bahadur Bista, a provincial assembly member elected from the area, was at Gurvakot. He said the provincial government has sanctioned Rs. 6 million from the current budget for the drinking water project. He also started a re-survey, and a separate consumers committee was formed.
All this has caused friction between the local and provincial governments and sowed doubt among locals that the project would see completion.
"If both governments had contributed to the project jointly, we would all have drinking water at our homes within a year," said Khadka Bahadur Bishwakarma, a local resident, adding," It's not right to politicize a vital resource like water."
Lawmaker Bista says the provincial government is just trying to make use of the budget as it has already included the project in its list. He stated that the provincial government decided to handle the project as it would have taken the municipality a long time to see it through. "It doesn't matter who takes responsibility for the project. What matters is water for people," said Bista.
According to him, the municipality should either sanction enough budget for the project or allow the provincial government to handle it. He even suggested the municipality utilize the budget sanctioned for the drinking water project for something else.
Bista further said that the locals had asked him for a sustainable drinking water project when he was contesting the provincial elections, and he was just trying to fulfill that demand
.Meanwhile, the municipality has accused the provincial government of unnecessary interference and duplication of work. "It is not fair to duplicate a project for which we have already done the survey, estimated the budget and even prepared a design," said Madhu Gurung, chief of Gurvakot-13, adding, "We can complete the project on our own." He further stated that the provincial government was not giving out a good message in forming a separate committee and starting a re-survey without any coordination from the local unit.
He accused lawmaker Bista of ignoring his advice to rely on the same consumer committee formed by the municipality.