KOZHIKODE: After years of dillydallying, the construction of the sewage treatment plant (STP) part of the multi-crore sewerage project in the city has taken another step towards realisation with the government set to invite fresh tenders for awarding the work.
The officials with the Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Project (KSUDP) say that they hope to award the work in the next four months. “This is the second time tenders are being invited for the construction of the STP. Though we had earlier invited bids, the process was dropped midway owing to public ire against the construction of the STP in the then-proposed site. We have changed our plan and an alternative land in the possession of the Kerala Water Authority (KWA), near Sarovaram, has been identified for the STP. As such it has been decided to invite new tenders and we are hopeful of awarding the work before the end of this year through an international competitive bidding process,” says K Somasekhara Kaimal, project manager, KSUDP Project Implementation Unit, Kozhikode.
Further, he says, although the KWA has given its nod to hand over the land, the KSUDP is yet to take possession of the site following the delay in clearing the site. “The land is currently being used to store pipes and other materials for the implementation of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)-assisted drinking water project. We have already contacted the officials concerned on the matter, as it is important to clear the land at the earliest for the KSUDP to take possession of it. Any delay will have a direct implication on the tendering process,” warns Somasekhara Kaimal.
The project, being implemented by the KSUDP with aid from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), had landed in trouble following public ire against the government’s initial proposal to construct the STP by filling the ‘wetland’ at Karimbanapalam. The residents had even approached the High Court and the National Green Tribunal, seeking cancellation of the two approvals issued by the government - one for the land filling of the area and another for the construction of the STP at Karimbanapalam, which, according to the petitioners, is part of the Kottooli wetlands.
Considering the mass protests against the proposed site, it was Mayor A K Premajam, at a meeting of the KSUDP empowered committee a couple of months ago, who came up with the idea of an alternative site near Sarovaram for the construction of the STP. The committee, after deliberations, had asked the KWA to study the feasibility of constructing the STP in its 2.5 acres of land near Sarovaram. The KWA team, which conducted the study, endorsed the proposal and the KWA managing director also gave the go-ahead.
The STP is a major component of the sewerage project, which includes laying of 67.7 km pipes to carry sewage, construction of pumping and lifting stations, among other works, in the initial phase. The entire project is already running way behind schedule, with only around 20 per cent of pipe-laying works completed so far, in a span of nearly three years.
n The STP is a major component of the multi-crore sewerage project being implemented by the KSUDP with aid from ADB.
n Originally scheduled to be completed in March 2013, the STP construction failed to take off owing to public ire.
n The work will be awarded through international competitive bidding process