Reality check: 41% tap water supply projects in Bihar partially or fully non-functional
Nearly 41 per cent of the tap water supply projects, being executed under the chief minister’s flagship ‘Har Ghar Nal Ka Jal’ scheme, were found partially or fully non-functional in a survey conducted on the instructions of the public health and engineering department (PHED) in different districts.
The PHED officials swung into action for a reality check of the projects days after CM Nitish Kumar called upon the legislators in the assembly last month to bring to his notice about any kind of irregularities they found in the execution of the seven resolves programme, of which tap water supply scheme is also a part. He said that 89 per cent of the households had been connected with tap water supply project.
As per the reports submitted by the district magistrates of 28 out of 38 districts, 186 of the 2,954 projects inspected were noticed incomplete, while 279 projects were found non-functional during the inspection. As many as 1,952 projects were running without any complaint, but 562 projects of different scales had minor issues and 189 had major problems.
PHED secretary Jitendra Srivastava, however, claimed that data was being misinterpreted as the officials reported on many incomplete projects that were not supposed to be inspected right now. “Only the complete projects were to be inspected. The survey report categorically said that as many as 2,604 projects out of the total compete 2,640 schemes were found functional,” said the secretary.
He said that the DMs have been told to ensure complete rectification of minor and major problems in the scheme within a week and impose a suitable penalty on the responsible contractors.
“Inspections are being carried out by independent bodies for realistic assessment of the projects. The DMs have been told to carry out project assessment in days to come,” said Srivastava.
In Khagaria, 49 out of 231 projects inspected by the PHED - highest in any district - and were found to be incomplete. The maximum number of minor complaints (144) in the scheme was reported from Purnia, while Kisanganj has the maximum number of projects (82) affected by major complaints.
The opposition parties, including the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), had raked up irregularities in the seven resolves schemes during the elections by dubbing it as the largest scam in the history of the state.
The state government has allotted Rs 4,310 crore budget to the PHED to connect all houses across 56,079 wards with tap water supply by the end of this fiscal. Officials said that around 49,000 wards have been covered under the project and work on the rest was going on in full swing.
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