The European Union approved a grant of €11 million, which is approximately INR 90 crore, for Chandigarh’s all-day-round water supply project. The amount has been granted by the EU, apart from a Rs 400 crore loan for the project which has been separately approved by a French development agency.
Chief Executive officer of Chandigarh Smart City Limited, KK Yadav said that it is the first time in the northern part of India, that the European Union has given a grant to a city for a water supply project.
The Agence Française de Dèveloppement (AFD) had called on the EU to promote the project, following which the grant was approved. The grant will be specifically spent for providing benefits to marginalised people, including economically weaker sections and women, and for improving the environment.
“We have been informed by the AFD that the EU has given in-principle approval to us for this grant. This grant has been given to us for fulfilling the criteria that is required for it. There were three parameters. They see the worth of the project, such as one criteria was gender based– how much impact would it have on a household’s women as the availability of the water will increase. The second was the availability of water to economically weaker section and third was the environmental impact.”
He added, “It was the AFD itself that stated that they will consider this grant for us from the EU, as our project report fulfilled the criteria required for this.”
Where will Chandigarh spend this amount?
Yadav said that the amount will be spent on various things, including maintenance and improvement of the first four phases of Kajauli waterworks and on other heads including spending for the benefit of economically weaker sections.
“There are frequent breakdowns in the first four phases of Kajauli water waterworks because the structure is very old and requires full-fledged maintenance with replacement of pipelines and other equipments. Primarily, we will first use the money on this,” Yadav said.
He added, “Since smart meters have to be installed and the cost of each of them would be Rs 8,000, it would be difficult for the economically weaker section in the city to bear the expense. Thus, through this grant, we will be bearing these costs. Later, we will see how much nominal charge has to be taken from the EWS. This amount would also be spent on soft IEC and capacity building.”
The grant will be received for the project in any of the two ways, as an advance from the EU or as reimbursement. “If they say that we have to first spend and then it will be reimbursed, we will use Rs 62 crore that we have kept for the water project,” Yadav said.
If the amount will be received in advance, sources said, the UT Administration will most likely receive it by September this year. In December last year, the AFD had approved a loan of Rs 400 crore for Chandigarh’s 24×7 water supply project in a board meeting.