After missing three deadlines, the Kajauli waterworks project in which Chandigarh is to get an additional 29 million gallons per day (MGD) of water has been given yet another deadline — December 20.
Harish Saini, the executive engineer of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, stated that the work was pending at the end of the Punjab government. “The work of intake structure which is being carried out by the Punjab irrigation department is still on and they have told us that the work will be completed by December 20 finally,” he said.
The main water intake structure has to be constructed to bring water from the Bhakra mainline canal to Kajauli and beyond. The intake structure helps in drawing water from the source (Bhakra mainline canal) over predetermined pool levels and then discharging this water into the withdrawal conduit called intake conduit, through which it will flow up to the water treatment plant.
Sanjay Arora, the superintending engineer of the public health wing of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, said that GMADA is yet to take the electricity connection, following which they will conduct trial runs before formally releasing the water. The official claimed that the work of pumping station, boosting station which was to be done by them has already been completed.
However, superintending engineer, public health of the GMADA, Devinder Singh told Chandigarh Newsline that they have already applied for an electricity connection and have rather asked the Chandigarh MC to give a date for it. “Taking electricity connection is no problem because we can get it within 10 days. But the issue is that if the connection is taken, the corporation will have to pay minimum charges from that date, which will depend on the load. That is why we have written to them asking when exactly they want the electricity connection from because the bills have to be paid by them,” Devinder Singh said.
Year after year, city mayors and the administration had been setting a deadline and assuring residents of bringing additional water to the city but all in vain. In 2016, the then mayor Arun Sood had stated that in any case additional water to the city will be brought by the next summer from May 1, 2017. As the work could not be completed even in 2017 when the then mayor Asha Jaswal had the charge, current Mayor Davesh Moudgil along with UT Administrator VP Singh Badnore visited the Kajauli waterworks and Jandpur area in February this year.
It was claimed that the city will get additional water from May 1, 2018, but the deadline was again missed. The officials then stated that the work will be completed by September but now a new deadline has been set. Chairman of the Federations of Sectors Welfare Associations of Chandigarh Baljinder Singh Bittu stated that though the demand of water isn’t high in winters, residents face crisis in summers.
“This summer was terrible. On the one hand there was a shortage of water and on the other, there were frequent breakdowns in the pipelines leaving us in a crisis,” Bittu said. He added that the work was being delayed so that it could be inaugurated near the Lok Sabha elections. “As you know the polls are near, it is being delayed intentionally,” he added.
At present, UT gets 85 MGD. Of this, about 58 MGD comes from Kajauli waterworks, Phases I, II, III and IV and the remaining 27 MGD is generated through 250 tubewells. In summer, the demand goes up to 116 MGD and a gap in demand and supply arises. In winter, the demand does not go beyond 85-90 MGD.
For water to reach Chandigarh from the Kajauli waterworks, water is lifted from the Bhakra main canal, SYL. The water is supplied to the Sector 39 Water Treatment Plant (WTP) in Chandigarh through four pipelines, Phases I, II, III and IV. Phases 1, II and IV are maintained by Punjab while Phase III is maintained by the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation.