The Comptroller and Audit General (CAG) authority has put under the microscope the heavy duty sub-project of the larger Kerala Water Supply Project funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for the unwarranted delay in the project’s completion.
The CAG report noted that the topographical survey of the JICA scheme were ‘incomplete’ and ‘defective’ and that led to setting up of unworkable estimates, delays in land transfers and inability in gauging the course of action for increasing the water storage capacity of the Peppara Dam in the region. CAG reported that the irregularities in survey measures have led to unnecessary acquisition of excess provisions and work related items, causing much delay to the completion of the project. The project is lagging by as many as 37 months, according to the audit of CAG, in more than 19 out of 33 sites related to the JICA-assisted schemes, including regions of Cherthala that was meant to benefit from this multi-crore project.
The audit, presented by CAG recently, has red marked many irregularities in site handling, including non-shifting of pipes stacked by the Kerala Water Authority (KWA), non-shifting of the existing pipelines and electrical lines, non-availability of site for dumping, non-receipt of land from the State Government and delays in acquisition of additional land. Also, the much anticipated need to increase the water storage capacity of the Peppara Dam has not been accounted for so far. The drinking water demand in capital city of Kerala was singled at 264 million litres per day (MLD), estimated to shoot up to 294 MLD by 2021. The existing capacity of water treatment plants, CAG has reported, is only 160 MLD, short by nearly 180 per cent. CAG has notified that the existing capacity of the plant is inefficient to fully utilize the 264 MLD holding capacity of the water treatment plants.
One of the biggest water supply projects under implementation in the country, the JICA funded water project was to benefit nearly 42 lakh people in five districts of Kerala.