Rs. 65.34 Crore earmarked for 174 water supply schemes
SRINAGAR, JUNE 12: During the current lockdown period enforced due to corona virus outbreak, the PHE sector in Kashmir has also encountered lot of difficulties in execution of water supply schemes and maintenance of the existing ones due to restrictions imposed on public movement in the Valley.
However, after announcement of certain relaxations by the Government, Jal Shakti Department previously known as Public Health Engineering Department has started work on 174 schemes which are coming up at a cost of Rs. 62.34 crore for improving the water supply system in Kashmir division. For completing these schemes in the PHE sector, over 900 labourers have been engaged and are earning their livelihood.
“Now the development scenario is back on track as the work on most of the schemes has resumed across the Valley apart from taking up some new schemes approved for improving the water supply system in the division”, said Chief Engineer, Jal Shakti Department Kashmir, Mr Abdul Wahid.
“It was very difficult for the department to operate and maintain water supply schemes because the field functionaries, especially the technical staff, were unable to move freely due to restrictions imposed on public movement. However, department did not relent and, after seeking proper permission from the competent authorities, PHE department reached such locations where necessary work had to be carried out with regard to repairs and plugging the leaks”, the officer explained.
“The field functionaries, including engineers and technical staff of the department, are alert to meet any exigency during this lockdown period and have been asked to respond to every call of the general public with regard to supply of drinking water and maintenance of water pipe network for which 20000 employees are working tirelessly round the clock at different levels,” the Chief Engineer added.
Giving details Chief Engineer PHE Kashmir said that there are over 2300 schemes operational in the division and supplying drinking water to the consumers without any interruption, while Rs. 10 crore stands expended on maintenance of these schemes so far, which is a perpetual process.
“There were eight schemes abandoned due to non availability of funds, but with new initiative of the Government, work has been resumed on these projects and these are expected to be finished this year. Of these, up-gradation of Wavethroo Aharbal water supply scheme in district Anantnag is being completed at a cost of Rs. 331.70 lakh.
The work on Ganderbal water supply scheme (WSS), Town Phase I, under languishing projects, costing about Rs. 3.99 lakh has been resumed, and will be completed shortly. Construction of Rapid Sand Filtration Plant (RSFP) at Budergund in Ganderbal district costing Rs. 399.28 lakh is also in progress while Rs. 785.18 lakh are being spent on upgradation of Charisharief town phase II in district Budgam to improve the water supply in these areas.
Work on Rs. 349 lakh Gurez Nunner water supply scheme in district Ganderbal has also been re-started under the National Rural Drinking Water Programme/ Jal Jeevan Mission (NRDWP/JJM) and the executing agencies have been asked to expedite work on it and ensure it is completed by the date fixed for it.
For augmentation of drinking water supply at Shah i Hamdan Colony in Tral area of Pulwama district, a scheme of Rs. 421.31 lakh is going on while Rs 403.67 lakh are being spent to improve drinking water supply scheme in Kulgam town. On completion these will benefit thousand of souls living in these villages,” as per the statement released by the Department.
“ Resumption of work on the schemes will not only generate livelihood opportunities for the labour class, but also improve the water supply system in the division to a large extent. This will benefit all those labourers living either in rural or urban areas. The focus is on generating maximum job opportunities for labour class, who seem to be suffering during the lockdown,” Chief Engineer PHE said.
The department has set up camping sites for the men at work who have been asked to adhere to standard operating procedures (SOPs) with regard to COVID-19 precautions like maintaining social distancing, use of masks, frequent hand washing and use of sanitizers to prevent transmission of virus.
For this purpose, PHE department has procured 15000 masks and hand sanitizers and these are being provided to the men at work both the field functionaries and the labourers. Besides transport facilities for their pick and drop from camping places to work sites have also been arranged.
Chief Engineer PHE lauded the efforts of the divisional administration for the support due to which the work on schemes is going on smoothly across the division.
Chief Engineer PHE Kashmir urged the people to make judicious use of drinking water, especially during this lockdown period besides avoiding use of drinking water for irrigation or other prohibited purposes so that smooth supply of water is ensured in all areas of the division.