Pune: BJP MLA Medha Kulkarni raised a calling attention notice in the Assembly on Tuesday highlighting the delay in land acquisition for construction of 11 new sewage treatment plants (STPs), which is being undertaken with the help of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). This project, once implemented, will make Mula and Mutha rivers pollution free.
The project is being undertaken by National River Conservation Plan (NRCP). Responding to a question, Chief Minister Devendra Fadanvis assured that the State government will follow up the issue of appointment of the consultant with the Central government.
Kulkarni demanded in the assembly that the work of the project needs to be accelerated. Kulkarni stated that Central government has released Rs 26 crore for the land acquisition in March this year and it was expected that the civic body would acquire required 8.91 hectare land, however, it has acquired only 1.24 hectare land.
Kulkarni further stated, "The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) administration has claimed that the project got delayed as the Central government has not appointed the consultant for the project yet.” Kulkarni also demanded that action needs to be taken against officials who are responsible for the delay in land acquisition.
Responding to the question, Chief Minister Fadanvis said, "In Pune city, there is a plan to construct 11 STPs under NRCP action plan. The Central government has so far released Rs 25.99 crore for the land acquisition of said project. Out of this amount, Rs 17.23 crore has been paid to the district collector of Pune for land acquisition and the process is on for paying the remaining Rs 5.31 crore.”
For getting funds from the agency, a detailed project report along with debt continuity certificate from the State government is required. The issuing debt continuity certificate for the project is under consideration of State government," the Chief Minister made it clear in a written answer.
A loan agreement was signed on June 13, 2016, with JICA for the project. It is expected to make rivers in Pune city pollution free by January 2022. According to the agreement, the government of Japan has committed to providing a soft loan of about Rs 1,000 crore to India for the project. The major components proposed under the project included construction of 11 new Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs), which would result in a creation of an additional treatment capacity of 396 million litres per day (MLD) over the existing treatment capacity of 477 MLD.
It was for these STPs that PMC was supposed to do the land acquisition of eight hectares. But the project was delayed on two fronts. On one hand, the government agencies were not able to figure out the way to transfer the funds online from the Central authorities to the collector. And the appointment of consultants was also got delayed.