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Pune civic body to dig 1,700 km of city roads for 24x7 water supply

Water department had appealed in writing to road department about the ambitious project three years ago.

pune Updated: Jul 04, 2017 15:53 IST
Abhay Khairnar
Abhay Khairnar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Almost 70% of roads in Pune will be dug up for laying pipelines for the 24x7 water supply scheme.(HT REPRESENTATIVE PHOTO)

In a shocking wastage of taxpayers’ money, all the newly-laid cement-concrete roads in the city will be partially dug up by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) for laying pipelines under the 24x7 water scheme in the coming three years.

Almost 70% of roads in the city will be dug for laying 1,700 km of water pipelines in the city.

Although civic corporators and administrators were aware that roads would have to be dug for the proposed Rs3,300 crore 24x7 water scheme, they proceeded with the laying of 200 km of cement-concrete roads over the last three years.

The city has a total of 400 km of cement roads constructed at a cost of Rs20 crore per kilometre.

About three years ago, the water department had cautioned the road department and senior officials about the impending 24x7 water scheme and had appealed in writing that new cement roads should not be constructed. The head of PMC’s water department V J Kulkarni confirmed this correspondence to Hindustan Times.

The water department had written to the then additional municipal commissioner Omprakash Bakoria and the road department alerting them to the massive digging that would be required in the city for the 24x7 water scheme. The timely alert was not taken heed of by the road department and the elected members forced the civic administration to lay the concrete roads. The administration is now worried about excavating these roads for the pipeline laying work.

The tendering process for the 24x7 scheme is already underway and the work is expected to begin after the monsoons. A number of corporators and administrators are expressing concern in private but not willing to speak about this openly.

Under the 24x7 water scheme, the existing network of water pipelines will have to be replaced. The detailed project report (DPR) states that 1,700 km new pipelines with a diametre of 4ft to 7ft will have to be laid. Pune has a total road network of 2,400 km.

“We will try not to dig the cement-concrete roads and will instead dig the footpaths and lay the pipelines there,” said Pravin Gedam, officer-in-charge of the water scheme. “We will try our best to save the roads as far as possible and dig portions with paver blocks and footpaths,” he said. Road department officials discounted this by saying that there was no option but to undertake road digging in a big way.

Over the last few years, the PMC had taken special efforts to improve the quality of roads in the city.

24x7 water scheme

The total project cost of PMC’s 24x7 water scheme is Rs. 3,300 crore of which Rs. 431 crore is for the laying of pipelines. The PMC has raised the money through municipal bonds and is the first civic body in the country to raise Rs. 2,200 crore through bonds.

Traffic chaos to worsen in next 3-4 years

Nearly 70% roads will be dug in the city and the work will begin simultaneously in various parts. The most challenging part for the traffic department and the police will be pipelines have to be laid across busy junctions. At many points the water pipelines will be laid across bridges, nalas and railway crossings.

First Published: Jul 04, 2017 15:47 IST