GUNTUR: The Jal Jeevan Mission works in the district are being carried out at a snail’s pace as the contractors are not coming forward to take up tenders for the works. One of the reasons for the lack of interest in contractors is the piling pending dues.
Jal Jeevan Mission was initiated by the Central Government to provide drinking water connections to every household in rural areas.Through this mission, 55 litres of water will be provided to every person in the house in rural areas. As many as 8,72,370 households are present in the rural district. As of April 1, 2020 water connections were given to 2,21,270 households. About 48,638 water connections were given in the year 2020-21 and in 2021-22, 11,431 connections were given.
The officials have identified as many as 1,580 works worth Rs 403.12 crore. In the first phase, fifty per cent of the works under Rs 5 lakh category have been completed, while twenty per cent are in progress. Reportedly, the contractors are not keen on taking up big works.
As part of this mission, the works had to be completed by 2024. According to official sources, bills worth Rs 50 crore are yet to be cleared for the works that have been executed so far as part of the scheme. As a result, the contractors are not coming forward as they cannot bear the capital cost of the works. The uncertainty of when the bills will be cleared also looms large.
Out of the 100 works worth Rs 40 lakh, tender process for only 14 per cent has been completed. Speaking to TNIE, Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Department Superintendent Engineer Suresh said, “The bottleneck in the whole process has been the difficulty in gathering resources required to take up such high volume works. So, the contractors are not coming forth for high capital works. But, as we have time till 2024, we are confident that works will be completed by then and safe drinking water connections will be given to every household in the rural district.”
The officials are making arrangements to re-organise the tenders process for the second time, in order to start the second phase works by next month. Village water sanitation committees will be formed to educate the people on the importance and utilisation of this scheme, and increase their involvement in the process. The committees will comprise of local women, ward members and people from backward sections of the respective village.
Suresh said that necessary training will be given to the committees to increase awareness among the people to utilise this comprehensive water scheme at its best.