CAG flags design defects, financial viability of Chandigarh’s water treatment plant

By, Chandigarh
Sep 25, 2020 12:22 AM IST

The additional 10 MGD tertiary facility treats the discharge from Chandigarh’s STPs

Pointing out lapses in the set-up and function of the tertiary water treatment plant built by the Chandigarh municipal corporation (MC), the comptroller and auditor general (CAG) has in its report stated that the plant suffers from design defects, while raising questions over its financial viability.

HT Image
HT Image

Significantly, the matter was reported to the civic body in July 2018 and then in August 2019, besides to the ministry of home affairs in August 2018. The latter’s response is awaited as of December 2019, states the auditing body’s report.

The CAG report notes that the Chandigarh MC decided to design and build a tertiary treatment plant in Diggian in Mohali and associated facilities with a capacity of 10 million gallons/day (MGD) to treat the discharge from its sewage treatment plants (STPs). The treated sewage was to be supplied for irrigation purposes, replacing the potable water being used otherwise.

The design wrongly assumed sufficient availability of sewage, states the report. One of the underground reservoirs was shifted to the older network with lower than required discharge capacity pumps and the old STP was not technically upgraded, the report mentioned.

The civic body, it said, did not ensure the required BOD level, that is below 5mg/l in the output, at the treatment plant, which likely led to the non-acceptance of treated water among the consumers.

Moreover, the MC could not recover the 43% of the operational and maintenance cost of the project as planned. The report states, “Treated water was supplied for free to the green spaces being maintained by the MC’s horticulture wing. The civic body also did not bill the tertiary water connections. An audit revealed that the intended results could not be achieved even after six to seven years post-project completion, and the audit could not assure itself of the viability of the project.”


Only six to nine MGD tertiary treated water, instead of 20 MGD as planned, is being supplied due to design and implementation failures, while the project viability is affected due to factors such as non-billing

Against the administrative approval of Rs 4.73 crore for the aforesaid work, Rs 7.29 crore (54% excess) was incurred. The justification for enhancement of the project cost to the extent, without any significant change in the capacity/technology of the tertiary plant to be installed, could not be found on record

Against the capacity of 10MGD tertiary treated water from the aforesaid plant, on average, only three to four MGD tertiary treated water was being supplied

Parameters of BOD level as agreed upon between the agency and Chandigarh MC was up to 20mg/l, which was far above that approved in the DPR — 5mg/l.

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