The city had some encouraging news from the Coimbatore Corporation on Monday on the drinking water front. After a decade’s wait, works on the Rs.113-crore Pilloor Phase II drinking water scheme took off. The scheme envisaged a supply of 62 million litres a day (mld), in addition to the 65 mld from the Phase I scheme and 87 mld from the Siruvani scheme. Along with the water from the new scheme, the Corporation aimed at providing a supply of 150 litres per capita per day in the city.
The Phase II scheme would also enable the Corporation implement another ambitious project: 24x7 supply of drinking water. Ground work to establish an additional treatment plant at Velliyangadu, demarcation of land to lay water lines and clearing of bushes for constructing an overhead tank began on Monday. “We will be able to complete the project in two years,” Corporation Commissioner Anshul Mishra told presspersons.
Of the total cost of the project, 50 per cent would be met through a Central Government grant as it would be implemented under the Union Urban Development Ministry’s infrastructure programme, Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission. While the State Government would provide a grant for 20 per cent of the project, the Corporation would have to spend Rs. 49.60 crore as its 30 per cent contribution. Of this, the 2009-10 budget of the civic body had allocated Rs. 20 crore, the Commissioner said. Initially, the State Government would provide an interest-free loan that would later be converted into a grant.
The Commissioner admitted the 30 per cent commitment for more than 10 schemes estimated at Rs. 3,186 crore had put some pressure on the Corporation. It, was, however, trying to mobilise funds mainly by stepping up tax collection, including widening the tax net. Floating municipal bonds could be an option, but the Corporation’s current credit rating was “neither good, nor bad” (it got a BBB + rating). “We hope to improve it by next year,” the Commissioner said.