14 drinking water projects in limbo for want of budgetConsumers have been waiting for access to drinking water for the past 10 years.
Nearly a decade after their initiation, as many as 14 drinking water projects have been left incomplete in Kailali district due to lack of budget.
According to Mohan Kunwar, chief engineer at Drinking Water and Sanitation Division Office in Dhangadhi, more than a dozen drinking water projects initiated under the central plan were left incomplete.
“About Rs200,000 to Rs400,000 budget is allocated annually to a drinking water project that requires around Rs100 million. Many such projects could not be completed due to the lack of necessary budget,” said Kunwar. He argued that it could take 20 more years to accomplish those projects if the authorities continue allocating insufficient budget each year.
The drinking water projects at Pahalmanpur, Masuriya, Baliya, Thpapur, Phulbari, Udasipur, Gadariya, Joshipur, Hasuliya, Pratapur, Durgauli, Ratanpur, Baliyachauri and Urma remain incomplete.
Once completed, according to Kunwar, a single drinking water project will benefit 10,000 to 15,000 people. “The infrastructure of most of these projects are complete but we need the budget to purchase pipes,” said Kunwar.
Technicians working on these projects are concerned that the long-built infrastructure—water tanks and intakes—may become weak and decrepit before the projects are handed over to the consumers. “The already- constructed structures of the projects are wearing out,” said Kunwar.
The federal government handed more than 103 drinking water projects in Kailali and Kanchanpur districts under the Tarai Madhes Drinking Water Project to the provincial government this year. The central government has allocated a budget of Rs140 million for these projects in the current fiscal year. Of the 103 such projects, 57 are under construction in Kailali.
Similarly, the central government has allocated Rs280 million for around 500 other drinking water projects across Sudurpaschim Province. “Each project gets less than Rs 1 million when we share the allocated budget among the under-construction projects,” said Kunwar. “The amount is inadequate to complete these projects.”
After waiting for 10 years, consumers have begun losing hope of easy access to drinking water. “We have been waiting for tap water for the past 10 years and had hopes that the project will ease the water shortage problems in the village. But the wait has been too long; I don’t see the project completing anytime soon,” said Chandra Chaudhary of Hasuliya. “The authorities concerned should take necessary initiatives and complete the project soon.”
Questioning the promises made by local authorities during elections, Krishna Paudel, chairman of Baliya Drinking Water Project, said. “The authorities lure people with these projects for votes during elections. A decade has gone by but none of the projects is complete yet.”