Central govt appoints UK-based consultant

Sakal Times
Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Absence of consultant had delayed the project for a long time

Pune: After a long wait for 23 months following the sanction of the ambitious Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) funded project for prevention of pollution of Mula and Mutha river in Pune, the Union government has finally appointed a consultant for the project. London-based Pail Fritchman will work as a consultant for the much-awaited project for Pune city. City MP Anil Shirole informed about this development on Wednesday.

A loan agreement was signed on January 13, 2016 with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for pollution abatement of river Mula and Mutha in Pune by January 2022. Under the agreement, the government of Japan has committed to provide a soft loan of 19.064 billion yen (about Rs 1,000 crore) to India for the project at an interest rate of 0.30 per cent per annum.

The major components proposed under the project include construction of 11 new Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs), which will result in creation of an additional treatment capacity of 396 million litre per day (MLD) over the existing treatment capacity of 477 MLD, laying of 113.6 km of sewer lines and renovation of four existing intermediate pumping stations.

Once the project is completed by January 2022, the total STP capacity available in Pune will be 873 MLD, which will be sufficient to cater to sewage generation for the year 2027.

The project also includes installation of a system for centralised monitoring of the functioning of STPs, construction of 24 units of community toilet facilities in slum and fringe areas, public participation and awareness programme and GIS mapping of sewerage facilities for better asset management.

Funding for the project will be shared by the government of India - 85 per cent (Rs 841.72 crore) and the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) - 15 per cent (Rs 148.54 crore). Shirole conducted a meeting with Union Minister for Science and Technology Harsh Wardhan to discuss the future course of action about the project. In accordance with the discussion, the government has decided to appoint a consultant for the project.

The project is being undertaken under national river conservation plan chalked out by national river conservation directorate. Shirole informed that the Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India, has issued a letter regarding this on December 15.

So far, the Central government has released a fund of Rs 26 crore for land acquisition. But since there was no budget head, the fund was blocked at the State government level. A few days ago, budget head has been created and a fund was released. After the appointment of consultant, the work of the project is likely to be accelerated.

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