The municipal corporation (MC) authorities expressed satisfaction over the feasibility report prepared by the consultants of the World Bank for project of 24x7 water supply in the city, up to large extent.
The consultants, through their study, recommended to setup two water treatment plants at Lohara and near Punjab Agricultural University for water supply from canal. The estimated cost of this project would be `2,500 crore, while the MC was expecting to get loan from the World Bank, besides assistance from the state and central government.
A meeting in this regard was held at Bachat Bhawan on Friday wherein the consultants presented their reports based on 24x7 water supply, drainage system, environmental conditions and urban poverty.
VK Bhatt, technical adviser to Punjab chief minister and JM Balamurugan, chief executive officer, Punjab municipal infrastructure development company, participated in the meeting.
The consultants also suggested acquiring of 25-acre land in Lohara for water treatment plant to make canal water useful.
A consultant, Parul Mathur, presented her study recommending to setup water treatment plants to use canal water so that the ground water can be saved.
The second report was based on financial study that revealed that the financial condition of the MC is weak, and it has also failed to recover the pending bills of water charges from residents. A consultant informed that an average bill of water supply is around `250 per month in Karnataka while the collection is above 90% as compared to Ludhiana where the collection rate is very low.
A suggestion was also given to install water supply meters and to charge tariff as per usage.
Meanwhile, city mayor Harchran Singh Gohalwaria also favoured the use of canal water by treating them through plants. They will also consider ending the provision of free water supply system to some buildings in the city, he said.
The institutional study presented by the consultant, SR Ramanujan, recommended that Independent Water Company is required for 24x7 water supply project, adding that proper management is also required for its success. However, a few councilors, including Inder Agarwal opposed the public-private partnership concept for this project, as he claimed that City Bus Service and garbage lifting project are fresh examples of failure of such concepts.
A report on drainage condition of city study suggested installation of storm sewerage and prevention to stop untreated sewerage flow into Buddha Nullah.
A report on environmental conditions also indicated the failure of PPCB, as the presence of heavy metals and toxics in Buddha Nullah. It states that many industries are using unauthorised fuels, and the auto rickshaws in the city are using adulterated fuels.
The report presented by consultant Bhanashree Banerjee on poverty stated the MC does not have proper arrangements to deal with poverty. It states that population in 209 identified slums of the city is 3.92 lakh while 2 lakh people are living in vehras.
MC commissioner Pradeep Agarwal said, “We are satisfied with feasibility report and necessary changes will be made before finalising it. We need external financial assistance for 24x7 water supply in the city.”