Tanahun lift water project left in limboThe water supply project, being constructed with Rs115 million, aims to benefit 1,300 households. Nine months since the deadline, work is far from over.
The Satiswara-Mirlung ‘lift drinking water project’, which aims to benefit 1,300 households in the Bhanu and Byas municipalities, was expected to reach completion by April. But nine months since the deadline, the project is far from complete, worrying locals.
The project targets to ‘lift’ water from three rivers in Bhanu municipality—Kharsyang, Sisne and Deurali—to the water tanks constructed about two kilometres upstream and distribute it to the locals.
One of the reasons for the project failing to meet the deadline, according to Ram Kumar Baniya, Ward 13 chief of Bhanu Municipality, is a lack of funds to purchase distribution pipes and water taps. “The first phase of the project’s infrastructure construction is almost final,” he said. “The distribution pipes and connection of water to the taps remain to be done.”
The project aims to supply water to 1,000 households in Bhanu Ward 13 in the first phase and 300 households in Byas in the second phase.
As things stand, about 70 percent of the first phase is complete and 40 percent of the second phase, according to Rafik Miya, the water project consumers’ committee. Eight water tanks of various capacities have been constructed so far, Miya said. “Moreover, pipes from the source to the tanks are also connected, the electric wires have been expanded and the transformer is installed.”
When the project was initiated, it was expected to be completed with Rs115.6 million. So far, only Rs30 million has been spent. To raise the funds, Rs3,000 was collected from each beneficiary household while the Bhanu Municipality 13 ward office contributed Rs 500,000. But no budget has been disbursed after the government’s drinking water and cleanliness division office was transferred to the jurisdiction of the provincial government.
Ward chief Baniya said that the project hit a snag early on due to a lack of manpower. Miya said that they are currently confused as to how to collect the remaining funds. “The project remains incomplete because of the government’s negligence,” he said.
Meanwhile, locals lament that their hope of ending the decade-long water crisis remains unfulfilled. “A year has passed since the project’s deadline, but now we are unsure whether we’d get the water at all,” Nanda Kumari Gurung, a resident of Thulodhunga in Bhanu 13, said. “The water crisis is severe here. We have to walk about two kilometres downhill to fetch water. Our last hope is the lift project.”
While water crisis hits its peak during winter, the rainy season brings no relief either, said Gal Gurung, another local. “Even during the monsoon, we have to walk up to an hour to fetch water,” he said. “The situation turns dire during April-March.” Gurung added that the project hasn’t moved ahead as expected because the authorities didn’t coordinate with the locals in the beginning.
But Hari Prasad Timalsena, chief of the drinking water and cleanliness division office, insisted that the project is incomplete in the lack of funds. “This is a project that depends on contributions from the government,” he said. “But the project hasn’t received the budget.”
The project will have an estimated 8.2km main pipeline and a 33.2km distribution network, to be shared among 887 private water taps and seven public taps.