The Punjab government Wednesday approved a World Bank-aided canal-based water supply projects worth over USD 285.71 million (approximately Rs 2,130 crore) for Amritsar and Ludhiana.
The decision was taken in a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.
The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) would finance 70 per cent or USD 200 million and the Punjab government the remaining USD 85.71 million, as per the proposal mooted by the Local Government department for the adoption of the Resettlement Policy Framework (RPF) under the Punjab Municipal Services Improvement Project.
The project would have four components including the strengthening of the urban and water supply service management (USD 11.61 million), improving the water supply infrastructure (USD 240.38 million), besides land acquisition and rehabilitation and resettlement (USD 15.62 million), COVID crisis response (USD 10 million) and project management (USD 7.6 million), in addition to Front End Fee of USD 0.5 million.
The Punjab government had requested the World Bank in June 2018 through the central government’s Department of Economic Affairs to support the state in implementing the round-the-clock, canal-based water supply projects in Amritsar and Ludhiana. With technical assistance from the World Bank, the pre-feasibility reports were prepared for both the cities in 2015 and updated in 2019. The projects are aimed at migrating from the rapidly depleting and contaminated decentralized groundwater sources to a centrally-treated surface water source.
A government statement said that the RPF lays down procedures and measures to ensure adequate accountability and transparency in the process of assessing land related impacts. A fair process will be put in place for acquiring land and for compensating those adversely impacted due to replacement cost, so as to improve or at least restore their livelihoods and standards of living to pre-project levels.
The project would invest in bulk water infrastructure, establish new institutional models for water supply and sanitation (WSS) service delivery and also strengthen the financial sustainability and customer orientation. Additionally, the project would extend flexible just-in-time resources and capacity support to the Punjab government and municipal councils across the state to tackle some of the critical challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, especially strengthening the city-level response and focusing on frontline service providers, it said.
A total of 90 acres land is required for the construction of Water Treatment Plants (WTPs) along with collection tanks for treated water and pumping stations close to the canals in Amritsar and Ludhiana. While Amritsar requires 40 acres of land, Ludhiana needs 50 acres.
For Amritsar project, the land has already been acquired in village Vallah along the Upper Bari Doab Canal (UBDC) by the Land Acquisition Collector at a negotiated cost of Rs 36.40 crore.
In Ludhiana, the land has been identified near village Rampur and the acquisition through negotiation is in progress.
No additional land requirement is envisaged for transmission network as alignment is to be along roads and right of way from the WTP to Overhead Service Reservoirs (OHSRs). The OHSRs/Under Ground Service Reservoirs (UGSRs) shall be constructed in the available public land belong to Municipal Corporation and other Government agencies.
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