After a long lull, drinking water supply improvement work in the old city area is all set to resume.
Sources said the go ahead to resume the work came from the top officers in the Municipal Administration and Water Supply Department at a meeting held in Chennai.
The approval was given because the Coimbatore Corporation, which was implementing the project with Suez India Pvt. Ltd. as contractor, was in a quandary after the recently concluded Assembly election because the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, when in opposition, had openly opposed the project.
Prior to the Assembly election, during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, the company had to go slow on executing the project because of labour migration. Though the labour returned around December 2020-January 2021, work did not resume in the pace that the Corporation had wanted.
Then came the Model Code of Conduct, election and change in government, the sources pointed out and said they had resulted in a situation where the company could not complete the work even in R.S. Puram, the first locality where it started the work in 2019.
As per the contract the Corporation had signed with the company, it was supposed to complete the work to relay all the drinking water pipeline in the old city area – 60 wards – in four years, by 2023.
Along with the challenges was also the problem of the Corporation delaying payment to Suez India Pvt. Ltd. for taking over the maintenance of the existing drinking water supply system. As of June 2021, the civic body owed around ₹ 100 crore to the company, the sources said and added that this had affected the company’s financial ability to execute the work.
All this was set to change as the top bureaucrats had given the nod to resume the work. But there was one last hitch – the company mobilising labour.
It had started to source the labour from various parts of the country and by July 15, work would resume on ground, the sources added.
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