Bhopal gets Narmada water, but no word of water for poison victims

The Narmada Water Supply Scheme for Bhopal is formally off the drawing board, or as the Business News put it, out of the drawing room.
The Bhopal municipality will now get water of dubious quality from the controversial Narmada scheme which has forcibly evicted thousands of villagers for a short term advantage.

However there is no sign of Babu Lal Gaur’s government lifting a finger to obey the order of the Indian Supreme Court that clean, safe drinking water be provided to the 20,000 people whose wells and stand pipes have been poisoned by chemicals lying in the abandoned Union Carbide factory.
Help put pressure on the Indian government to provide the clean water, please visit http://www.studentsforbhopal.org


BHOPAL WATER SCHEME COMING ON:
The project is expected to supply an additional 185 million litres a day to the city
Shashikant Trivedi / Business News
The controversial Rs 240-crore Narmada Water Supply Scheme for Bhopal has now formally come out of the drawing room.
The project involves very high maintenance costs, besides covering a long route, for its construction. The water will be sourced from the Hirnai village in Shahganj.
The project, which was to be earlier completed by the Narmada Hydroelectric Development Corporation (NHDC), the state arm of the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC), was later handed over to the public health engineering department.
Ironically, Bhopal, also known as the city of lakes, is facing acute water shortage.
“The increasing pollution of the Narmada waters is making it exceedingly difficult to source water for a city like Bhopal,” an MP Pollution Control Board spokesperson told Business Standard, adding, “Thirty dams are being constructed on the Narmada river, though the project will be of no use after a period of five years.”
The project is expected to supply an additional 185 million litres a day to the city.
The involvement of the health department in the construction has, however, raised many eyebrows. The NHDC had estimated the cost of the project at Rs 350 crore but the state government had transferred it to the health department for unknown reasons.
The Bhopal Municipal Corporation claims to supply nearly 170 litres of water per person every day. The Kolar dam water supply stands at 28 million gallons and the upper lake water supply is estimated at 23 million gallons per day. The remaining five million is supplied by various tube-wells.
The project is scheduled to be completed within a period of three years, though experts claim the supply would take a considerable period of time, with the maintenance being a major problem.
The government had been advised to increase water charges to as high as Rs 800 per month from the existing Rs 60 per month and the government had received a Rs 100-crore grant from the Centre. It has allocated Rs 40 crore in the current year’s state budget.
After the implementation, the project the scheme will be handed over to the Bhopal Municipal Corporation, for its maintenance. An amount of Rs 43.36 crore will be incurred on the annual maintenance of this scheme. BJP’s Deputy Chief Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated the project.
More water
* The project involves very high maintenance costs, besides covering a long route, for its construction
* The project is scheduled to be completed within a period of three years, though experts claim the supply would take a considerable period of time, with the maintenance being a major problem
* After the implementation, the project the scheme will be handed over to the Bhopal Municipal Corporation, for its maintenance

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