The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is planning to begin work on the much-delayed Mula-Mutha river rejuvenation project once the Model Code of Conduct is lifted.
“The bidding process for the river rejuvenation project is complete and the implementing agency will be finalised after the Model Code of Conduct is lifted,” said a civic officer.
The Rs 990-crore project is part of the National River Conservation Plan in the city and is supported by the funding agency, Japan International Co-operation Agency, which signed a loan agreement on January 13, 2016, with the government of India. Under the proposed project, the PMC plans to construct 11 new sewage treatment plants (STPs) of 396-MLD (million litres per day) capacity, lay 113.6-km of sewers and build 24 community toilets. The project is estimated to take three years.
However, the civic estimate committee has raised a query on the increase in the project cost in the last five years.
The project was initially estimated to cost Rs 640 crore but the amount has increased to Rs 990 crore since the project was sanctioned by the Union government five years ago. The civic water supply and sewage department has said the estimated cost has increased because of the delay in implementation of the project as well as the necessary administrative process of appointing a consultant for it.
In September last year, the Union government had pulled up the PMC as well as state government over the delay, and the civic administration had said it was awaiting funds for the project, which was subsequently transferred by the Union government to the state government. The Centre had also sought a clarification from the state government on why it had withheld the second installment of funds sent for the project, after which Rs 31.75 crore was again sanctioned for the civic body. The first installment of Rs 25.99 crore had been transferred to the PMC more than a year ago.
After receiving the second installment, the PMC invited agencies for the construction of the 11 STPs in six phases and the work includes operation and maintenance of these plants for 10 years.
The pollution of Mula-Mutha river, due to discharge of untreated sewage, has been a major cause of concern for city residents. The total sewage treatment capacity of the existing functional sewage treatment plants (STPs) in Pune is 477 million litres per day (MLD), while the volume of sewage generated in the city is estimated at 728 MLD. The remaining untreated sewage is discharged directly into the river.
The amount of sewage generated by city residents is expected to reach 873 MLD by 2027. The 11 new STPs are proposed to be built in Botanical Garden, Baner, Warje, Wagaon Budhurk, Tanajiwadi, Naidu Hospital, Dhanori, Bhairoba nalla, Mundhwa, Kharadi and Matsyabeej centre.