Details :

 Stuck projects multiply water woes

20 May 2016, Mumbai ( Hindustan Times)

PARCHED LAND 493 schemes worth Rs317 crore were approved for the district in 2005 but only 192 completed

THANE: As many as 61% of approved water-related projects have been stuck at various stages over a period of ten years in five talukas of Thane with Murbad and Shahpur towns being the worst hit, a report by a zilla parishad (ZP) inquiry committee revealed.

The revelation comes in the wake of a protest march to Mumbai led by Shahpur residents over water shortage, exacerbated by the stalled projects in the town.

The protesters from Shahpur, which supplies over 3,000 MLD water to the island city, have threatened to cut water supplies if their grievances remain unaddressed.

The ZP approved 493 schemes wor t h Rs317 crore f or the district in 2005. They were for five talukas: Ambernath, Bhiwandi, Kalyan, Murbad and Shahpur.

Considering a high number of stalled schemes, an inquiry was ordered. After covering 1,500 villages from the district, the inquiry members released the data, an officer said.

The ZP has filed criminal cases against gram panchayats and, water supply and sanitation committees after finding i r re gularities i n 28 water supply schemes of the three talukas. These include 23 from Murbad, four from Shahpur and one from Bhiwandi. Among the stuck 301 projects, 77 of them are proposed to be completed at the earliest. The inquiry committee has planned to take action in another 25 schemes.

The maximum number of pending projects is from Murbad and Shahpur talukas. Moreover, the ZP has also allegedly cleared the bills of the contractors and the respective gram panchayats. There is now a delay even in getting this revenue back.

“For the last ten years, the ZP has approved 493 schemes related to, among others, taps and pipelines. Out of these, only 192 schemes have been completed while 93 schemes are stuck in Shahpur and 133 in Murbad for various reasons,” a ZP official said. 

Earlier, state’s water supply and sanitation minister Babanrao Lonikar had revealed Rs317- crore scam. Later, an executive and a deputy engineer from water department were suspended.

“Most schemes covering Shahpur and Murbad are stuck. In Shahpur, 130 water supply schemes were approved out of which only 37 have been completed while 93 are delayed. Similarly in Murbad out of the 175 approved schemes, 42 have been completed and 133 are still incomplete. Completion of these schemes will resolve major water woes of these two talukas,” the official added. 

IRREGULARITIES REPORTED IN 28 SCHEMES

The ZP has filed criminal cases after finding irregularities in the water supply schemes of three of the talukas. These includes 23 from Murbad, four from Shahpur and one from Bhiwandi. The ZP has filed cases against the gram sevak, sarpanch and water supply and sanitation committees related to these schemes.