BARIPADA: Nearly seven years after Odisha Renewable Energy Development Agency (OREDA) initiated solar-based water supply in Mayurbhanj district after cyclone Phailin struck the State, the project seems to have lost steam with many projects rendered defunct due to lack of maintenance.
Besides, official apathy too has affected the scheme depriving over 40,000 people of safe drinking water in many rural pockets across the tribal-dominated district.
Sources said in 2014, OREDA, which comes under the Energy department, had initiated solar-based water supply in villages or colonies having less than 100 families.
It undertook phased installation of solar panels through 1,558 projects and took care of maintenance for five years after which it claimed to have handed over the responsibility to the Rural Drinking Water Supply & Sanitation (RWSS) division. Besides solar panel, one HP Submersible Water Pump and 5,000 litre capacity sintex water tank were provided.
However, out of the 1,558 projects, 404 are no more operational. The projects were set up at a cost of Rs 4.5 lakh each.
While on the one hand, the solar panels are not functional due to lack of maintenance, on the other, official apathy and lack of accountability have aggravated the situation with the authorities of OREDA and RWSS blaming each other.
Defunct solar panels and other technical glitches have been reported from all 26 blocks of the district, said official sources.
Meanwhile, senior assistant engineer of OREDA Nanda Kishore Mohanty admitted to the lapses. Besides, he said all projects were handed over to RWSS after initial five years.
On the other hand, executive engineer of RWSS, Baripada, Narayan Prasad Gandhi dismissed ORDEA claims of project handover.
“Project maintenance is not under our jurisdiction. OREDA did not hand over the projects,” he said.