Rashme Sehgal, Asian Age Correspondent
New Delhi, 27 December 2012. A public interest project to mitigate NCR’s increasing water shortages initiated from the PMO in 2009 has seen another letter being fired to the PMO wanting to know why it is stalled.
Water activist Vani Sundarji (wife of former Army Chief General Sunderji) wrote to national security adviser Shiv Shankar Menon last week asking why WAPCOS, a public sector company, which had already done the original R&D study for the project and submitted it to Delhi Jal Board (DJB) has now been asked to adopt a merely supervisory role.
A team of experts from Delhi University and WAPCOS had carried out the hydrological investigations and submitted them to the DJB and the Central Water Commission in March 2012. This would have ensured an additional 60 MGD of water for one million people in the city by 2013 at a minimal cost of 12 crores.
WAPCOS had been given the award for DPR preparation, tendering and installation of the computerised SCADA system, along with operation and maintenance. But when it was time for the MoU to be signed, the newly-appointed DJB CEO felt the project should not be given to WAPCOS.
Member (water) DJB Dhaul asked WAPCOS to submit a revised proposal which it agreed to do.
The R&D study by WAPCOS revealed that the drinking water supply of the Yamuna floodplain could be enhanced from the current 15-20 MGD to nearly 60 MGD. WAPCOS had suggested the yield be increased in two phases.
A water activist alleged, “To disturb a team which has done extensive work right in the middle of the project is not a good idea at all. But the DJB would rather hand over the project to a company which would charge them several hundred crores than use a team which is willing to provide a non-invasive environmentally safe water supply.”