12 years on, PHE fails to complete Pahlo Kalam water supply scheme

PHE filtration plant at Pahlo-Kalam. —Excelsior/Sajad Dar
PHE filtration plant at Pahlo-Kalam. —Excelsior/Sajad Dar

Suhail Bhat
Srinagar, Oct 11: Reflecting abysmal approach of Government towards the development projects in State, Public Health Engineering (PHE) Department is yet to complete the Pahlo- Kalam water supply scheme in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district despite the passing of 12 years.
The water scheme was taken up for execution in 2005 with an aim to provide 50 MGD (million gallons per day) of potable water supply to nearly 10 villages that are facing a shortage of clean water owing to contamination of natural springs in the area.
Local residents said they have repeatedly lodged their protest against the lack of clean potable water in their areas but their pleas went unheard.
“We are waiting for the completion of the project for last 13 years but despite missing multiple deadlines the project stands incomplete. We drink the same water that our cattle consume and authorities are unmoved,” Abdul Razzaq, a local, said, adding that the poorly filtered water has taken a toll on their health as several people from the area were suffering from different water-borne diseases like Hepatitis B.
An official at the PHE said the scheme was commissioned with an estimated cost of nearly Rs 2.5 crores and Rs 1.88 crores have already been spent.
“Initially the scheme was under the district sector, where funds usually get delayed. Lack of funds stalled the project,” he said, adding that in the year 2010 the scheme was put under NABARD but it did not enhance the flow of funds.
Echoing him, Executive Engineer PHE Division, Kulgam, Rajindra Pandita said the meager funding hampered the pace of the project and the project was not completed in given two years under NABARD. “Projects under NABARD are to be completed in two years but the project could not be completed in the time period due to lack of funds. This lead to the extension of the deadline and the project got derailed,” he said.
The Executive Engineer also said that the project was 90 percent complete and would be finished in the next financial year. “The project is almost complete and the pending filtration plant will be completely installed by the end of this year. First, we have to finish our liabilities to encourage the contractors to continue the work,” he said.