The Chambal drinking water project, which promises to resolve up to a great extent the water woes of Bhilwara residents, has been marred by severe fund crunch and inter-departmental tussle, official sources said.
Anita Bhadel, state cabinet minister and in-chage of Bhilwara, who earlier said the project would be completed by July 2015, has now declared that it would be ready for commissioning by May 2016.
Most parts of Bhilwara district currently receive drinking water supply for one hour once in three days, but after the completion of the project the frequency and duration of the supply might improve.
Project superintendent engineer (rural) RK Sharma, while attending a meeting of district officers on Saturday, claimed that though the project was running without sufficient funds, it would be completed by April next year. Bhadel was also present in the meeting.
Sharma said that nearly Rs 900 crore had been spent on the water project since it was launched in 2013, but it’s difficult to run it without money any longer.
The project cost, estimated to be about Rs 2,200 crore, was supposed to be equally shared by the Centre and the state, but the state government did not allocate any funds for it in the last two budgets. Currently `15 crore is to be paid to the project contractor against his work and material on site but, Sharma said, they have insufficient funds to pay him.
He said digging and pipe-lining work between Aaroli and Bhilwara will be completed by December end and hoped that other works would be over by April 2016.
VK Sharma, Chambal project engineer (city), complained in the meeting that public health and engineering department (PHED) officers were not cooperating with him for construction of overhead tanks and pump houses in the city area.
There was a heated argument between Sharma and PHED official RK Ojha in the meeting over the latter’s alleged non cooperation in the project, sources said.
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi laid the foundation stone on September 22, 2013 for the Chambal drinking water project, the second largest water scheme in Rajasthan.
The government is thinking of supplying water to nine towns and 1,688 villages of Bhilwara district and 23 villages of Bundi district from Chambal river with financial assistance from Nabard, NRDWP and state funds.
Congress leader Durgesh Sharma told HT, “According to DPR of the project, this project can’t complete before August 2016. BJP ministers are making the people fool without allocating budget.”