The government’s ‘Greater Jammu and Srinagar Project’ in which it had planned to save the Srinagar and Jammu cities from the wrath of the dirty water has drawn flak as the experts suggest that if implemented, the plan will drown the historic Old City within a couple of months.
Experts have raised the alarm bells regarding the ‘Greater Srinagar’ project and warned that it has the potential to drown the Old City.The project, sources say, costs a whooping amount of Rs 133 crore and the state government has handed over the project to the National Buildings Corporation Limited (NBCC) in 2007 and in the year 2008 NBCC started the initial work of the project.
However, sources said because of the delay in the release of the funds the project was halted for a time period and only 50 per cent of the projected has been completed so far.
Sources further said the state government under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) scheme gave a green signal for the project in 2006 and till now out of Rs 133 crores, Rs 87 crore 73 Lacs have been released so far and the project ‘Greater Srinagar sewerage project’ is expected to get completed by September 2013.
“The projected is expected to connect the drains of over 48,220 houses in Srinagar. All of them will be connected with a single drain and the base water will be first collected by a 60MLD Sewerage Treatment Plant installed at Noorbagh Srinagar,” sources said.
Sources however said that only 60 percent of work of 60MLD Sewerage Treatment Plant has been completed.The project however has worried the experts who say that the project can be catastrophe for the old city residents in the near future.
“It will be disaster for the old city. The project has not been handled in a proper way and the state government has committed a blunder by giving it to NBCC which is not aware about the topography of the region. The line connecting is a big problem and NBCC at certain places on the outskirts of the city has failed to maintain the drainage level,” General Secretary J&K Central Contractors Coordination Committee, Farooq Ahmad Dar said.
He said the NBCC has faced lot of problems in the implementation of the project of which the Soura link is the glaring example.
“They (NBCC) are not able to maintain the levels of various drains. In 2007 the levels of the drains were different and after five years the levels are not the same, even an inch of difference between the levels will be a disaster for the city,” he claimed
“Two years before they dug out the roads to an extent of 15-20 feet at Soura and inserted sewerage pipes in them. After they failed to maintain the levels they have now again started to dig the roads and are again inserting the pipes in them. They are not coming out of Soura from past two years,” Farooq added.
Asked how the project can be a failure, he said on inspecting various places the pipes have been diverted and there is not any proper gas cut in them at many places.“Continuous rains of 3-4 days will flood the downtown,” he said.
He claimed that the NBCC has hired the least experienced staff and the state government should have given the contract of this project to the Urban Environmental Engineering Department (UEED) or Drainage Circle Srinagar.
“For any type of sewerage work, an engineer must have 15-20 experience but NBCC has hired the youngsters who have just diplomas or the experience of one or two years. Besides the government’s non serious attitude towards our complaints is also a reason,” Farooq said.
Sources further delved that the state government in 2007 had faced a tough opposition from the UEED and other experts who had vehemently opposed the government’s move of handling this project to NBCC.
“Due to political favoritism both at the central and the state level, the project was handed over to NBCC, in no time you will see NBCC as future NHPC,” sources said.
One of the experts, Former Chief Engineer Mohammad Ashraf Fazili said the work of laying of pipes has not been carried out according to IS Codes of practice, including laying of mud mats under the joints of pipes, maintaining the gradient at invert level with levelling instruments, refilling in layers with proper compaction, testing the cube strength of the laid concrete / steel according to BIS specifications.
“The project was given to NBCC only after they assured the state government that they have the latest technology available with them. But, in Kashmir many government departments have similar technology. The NBCC has spoiled this project,” Fazili said.