India: Veli-Akkulam Project Fails in Achieving Its Objectives
The Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) first-ever Performance Audit on Water Pollution in India has found out that despite earmarking Rs 24.56crore, under the National River Conservation Plan (NRCP), the project for restoration and conservation of Veli-Akkulam lake had not achieved its objectives as yet. The report said that the activities to be undertaken for restoration of Veli-Akkulam lake included construction of 12 mld and 13 mld Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) at Ulloor and Valiathura respectively.
The dredging includes bioremediation and sewage system for Akkulam catchments, site protection and beautification works.
“The cost of the project, Rs 24.56 crore, was sanctioned in August 2005 with scheduled completion date of August, 2007. The project was entrusted to the Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala as the nodal agency and the implementation was assigned to the Kerala State Urban Development Project. The State Government in January 2006 had appointed Theerapadham Urban Development Project as the nodal agency and the Kerala Water Authority and Irrigation Department as implementing agencies. Theerapadham Urban Development Project was later merged with the Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Project,” the report said.
In May 2006, the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) had released Rs 4.30 crore for the project. In September 2009, the State Government had ordered that the regeneration work of the lake would be undertaken by funds, allotted by the 12th Finance Commission for special projects and the required funds were obtained from it and awarded to three public sector undertakings.
“It was also observed that in the meantime that an STP out of JNNURM funds was to be constructed for the management of sewage of the City Corporation area and so the construction of STPs proposed for the regeneration of Veli-Akkulam was dropped,” the CAG report said.
The CAG report also points out that a site visit by a team from the MoEF in September 2010, had revealed that only the de-weeding and de-silting work were under progress. The MoEF also noted that the Irrigation Department, which has been appointed as the nodal agency by the State Government, should regularly monitor the implementation of works, which is not being carried out now. The Amayizhanjan canal carries municipal waste of the city to Veli-Akkulam lake. The undue delay in the work has been seriously mentioned in the CAG report and it says that the project is yet to achieve its objective.
Dredging Today Staff, December 29, 2011;