Municipality’s Unapproved 8 Crore Water Meter Installation Ends in Project Failure

A ₹31 crore project remains incomplete as the contractor has been paid ₹20 crore, with a request for an additional ₹3 crore pending approval. The construction of water tanks and pipelines in the expansion, including Chanani and North Harini, incurred expenses of ₹8 crore for laying 16,500 meters of pipes.

Prepaid Meters Installation Initiative

A power company initiates the installation of prepaid meters to control power theft. A previous project to install water meters in 2014-15 to ensure 24-hour water supply had been undertaken, but approval for a water meter policy for 31.49 crore meters had not been granted due to political reasons even after 6 years.

Water Supply Project Implementation

In Vadodara, a 24-hour water supply project was executed, including tank and pipeline construction in areas like North Harini, Chanani, Sayajipura, and Kapurai. The contractor installed 16,500 meters. However, pressure issues arose in the eastern and southern areas. Despite initiating a water meter policy, approval had not been obtained even after 6 years.

Unfinished Project and Political Dispute

With the project incomplete, the contractor had been paid ₹20.67 crore earlier. In November 2023, the contractor was approved for a deposit and the remaining ₹3.17 crore payment. The ruling party’s indecision led to the project’s failure.

Malfunctioning Meters and Remedial Measures

Out of the purchased meters, 8,000 were found defective. The municipality spent ₹10 crore on meters, including installing 16,500 meters in 5 expansion areas. Dust has accumulated on 8,000 water meters stored in a tank room on Ajwa Road, and complaints of low water pressure have emerged after meter installations in several areas.

Expert Views on Project Management

Experts suggest a rigid approach towards political and administrative desires for projects. This pilot project wasn’t a failure, but it lacked political and administrative will. Meter installations can provide valuable data on water usage patterns. During my tenure, 2 tank expansions had water meter installations, and policies were formulated. The project needs to be rigorously enforced. The extent of water wastage from sources like Ajwa and Fazalpur isn’t accurately accounted for.

Arbitration Threatens Municipal Authority

In 2022, contractors issued notices for payment, deposits, and unspecified amounts, threatening arbitration. The municipality was warned of potential losses, prompting officials to approve the ₹3.17 crore payment.

Niyati Rao

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