BERHAMPUR: Despite ground water level crisis and an annual spend on construction of rainwater harvesting structures (RWHS) in the city by Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BeMC), not one is functional.
As a result, even after monsoon, rain water goes down the drain defeating the purpose of addressing the issue of water crisis as well as creating ecologically sustainable and climate resilient community assets. As per BeMC records, RWHS have been constructed on most government buildings, but many are lying damaged.
In some, there is no trace that a structure ever existed.Last year, the BeMC decided to construct 2000 RWHS in the city in open spaces or on rooftops under the state-sponsored Mukhyamantri Karma Tatpara Abhiyan.
While the BeMC decided to construct 50 RWHS in each ward, including open spaces, government offices, public libraries, parks and Kalyan Mandaps in the city, the projects were assigned to women self-help groups (SHGs).
An amount of Rs 38,700 per RWHS for rooftop projects and Rs 30,000 per project on open spaces was sanctioned with a condition that all the structures would be completed by June 15, 2022.
However, no space was identified for the construction and the SHGs started work as per their choice not even sparing private homestead lands. Following protests by land owners, construction stopped. Unofficial sources stated that the projects were shown as completed on records.
SHG members said they were provided the sanctioned fund after deducting 12 per cent GST by the municipal engineers.Contacted, Nodal CEO of BeMC, Smita Dash said construction is going on at several projects and will hopefully be completed soon.
"Around 597 RWHS are under construction, of which, around 100 projects are almost complete," she informed. "What is the point of having the rainwater harvesting structures now when the monsoon rains are already getting wasted," questioned labour leader Pitabasa Panda.