On the instructions of chief minister Eknath Shinde, the civic body on Monday floated a tender inviting bids from private parties for the Rs 320 crore project. “It is for the first time that the MMC floated a tender for the drinking water project. The project has finally made headway due to the chief minister’s intervention,” local rebel Sena MLA Suhas Kande and MMC’s chief officer Sachin Kumar Patel told TOI.
Apparently, the issue was brought to Shinde’s notice on Saturday when he was on his way from Malegaon to Aurangabad and had a brief stopover at Manmad.
Both Kande and MMC officials informed the chief minister that although the Maharashtra Jeevan Pradhikaran (MJP) had approved the revised detailed project report (DPR), the project couldn’t be implemented as the cash-strapped MMC is facing a financial crisis and cannot bear 15% of the project cost. The state government would bear the remaining 85% cost.
“He announced that the state government would bear the entire project cost and directed the civic administration to immediately float the tenders. On Monday, we floated the tenders,” Kande said, adding that the CM has also assured that if there is further cost escalation, the state government would provide the additional funds.
Head of MMC’s water department Amrut Kajve said private parties would have to submit their bids within 45 days. “We are confident that this project will now see the light of the day,” he said. For over five decades Manmad town, the third biggest urban zone in Nashik district after Nashik city and Malegaon, has been reeling under water crisis all throughout the year. The town, located in the rain shadow area, has a population of over 1.3 lakh and is getting water once in 15 days for over 50 years.
In 2019, the then chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had taken up the issue and approved the project at a cost of Rs 297 crore. But due to pandemic the project got delayed and later the project cost escalated to Rs 320 crore.
The project involves laying of 70-km-long pipeline to draw water directly from Karanjwan dam in Dindori taluka of Nashik district and take it to Waghdardi dam in Manmad, from where the MMC lifts water for supplying it to the town. Moreover, the water supply infrastructure in the town would be overhauled to prevent water loss.