With the monsoon just days away,the Pune Cantonment Boards plans to ensure a hassle-free rainy season for citizens have hit a snarl.
According to PCB chief executive officer D K Malik,the board is unable to finish the planned refurbishment of sewage in several civil areas under its jurisdiction,as the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is dithering on its commitment to set aside its share of Rs 16 crore for the project. The two bodies had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in March 2007.
The PMC informed us it has not earmarked the funds. We,on our part,had allotted around Rs 5 crore. They had neither backtracked nor had given us the go-ahead to complete their share of the work, said Malik.
It may be recalled that as per the MoU,the PCB and the civic body had decided to relay pipelines in various strategic locations,thus giving the existing underground sewage system a much-needed overhaul. The MoU encompassed the location of the main sewage line and works on the Manik nalla,which falls under the jurisdiction of both bodies. It also involved jointly setting up a sewage treatment plant at Mangalwar Peth,into which the PCB can discharge its entire sewage,by sharing the construction cost.
The PCB is not taking the imminent monsoon lightly. We have identified and issued notices to the owners of 53 buildings that are in urgent need of repair. But the decaying sewage system remains a major cause of worry, Malik said.
However,V Kulkarni,head of the PMCs sewage department,listed out reasons for the delay,The MoU was signed under an earlier administration and the project planned with JNNURM funds. We will follow up with JNNURM officials and once we get the latest project report from the PCB,we will set the ball rolling. It is a large-scale,time-consuming assignment. Funds are necessary but there is no question of not cooperating. The PMC will honour its promise.
Additional civic commissioner M S Devnikar declined to comment on the issue. I am not aware of the details. The PCB is welcome to approach us anytime, he said.
Malik said the issue will soon be discussed at a meeting with new civic commissioner Mahesh Zagade. But we will be able to commence the remaining work only by November. The project could take up to a year to finish, he said,pointing out that the work in some places,including Modikhana,was 80 per cent complete. Malik expressed concern that heavy showers or a cloudburst similar to last years could lead to water-logging,especially in low-lying areas.
Last week,PCB officials made a presentation in which the proposed plans for laying pipelines were detailed. We will meet the corporation officials soon, PCB president Brig Rajbir Singh had said. The administration would strive to ensure safety of structures during the monsoon,he said,adding that the residents will be evacuated only if it is absolutely necessary.
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