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Narail water treatment plant - handover pending even after 5 years

  • Published at 11:22 pm June 16th, 2019
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This photo taken recently shows a potion of the water treatment plant in Narail Dhaka Tribune

Households must rely on bottled water, or water sourced from distant tube-wells which are relatively free from contamination

The handover of the much awaited water treatment plant in Narail Sadar upazila is still pending, even after five long years, since the project began in 2014, adding to the woes of locals.  

As the existing water supply had become contaminated, and become unsafe for household use, let alone drinking, the project was undertaken with a view to provide clean, safe, and drinkable water to the people of the municipality town. 

Hence, the project was undertaken to supply clean water to 37 towns in the municipality in order to ease the suffering of the residents.

Owing to delay in completing the  project, reportedly due to bureaucratic complications, locals continue to suffer from lack of clean water.

Households must rely on bottled water, or water sourced from distant tube-wells which are relatively free from contamination.

Following frequent complaints from the local authorities, the Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE)in association with Narail Municipality acquired the necessary land, and funding from the government. Finally, the construction of the project began in October 19 of 2014.

The tender had gone to M/S SHE-MT & SS Consortium (JV) and Munir Traders, which is a part of the former contractor company.

According to the project details, an estimated 350 cubic metres of water would be converted into clean drinkable water, and supplied to consumers in the municipality per hour, said DPHE sources.

However, locals have complained about the use of low grade materials in the construction, and also using the replacement cost to source more funding, resulting in the delay in handover. 

Layla Sumon, a housewife from the municipality town, said: “It is an everyday struggle to source drinking water for the family. The water treatment plant has been under construction for a long time now. The lack of supervision, and accountability is likely leading to chances of corruption. This does not bode well for us.”

Md Jahangir Biswas, mayor of Narail municipality said: “The use of low grade materials have led to frequent replacing of pipes as they became worn out over time. Moreover, the DPHE is not consulting us in anyway, adding to our frustration. More machineries might become worn out, and need replacement. We cannot stand the delay in handover any longer.”

When contacted, officials of Munir Traders claimed that even though M/S SHE-MT & SS Consortium (JV) had completed the treatment plant, the submersible pumps necessary for the water supply wasn’t included in the tender for which an additional tender was issued. The setting-up of these submersible pumps are still ongoing, which is delaying the handover.

Wishing to remain anonymous, a few DPHE officials said, owing to the frequent change in executive engineers, currently no executive engineers from the DPHE were overseeing the project. 

When contacted, newly appointed DPHE Executive Engineer Golam Mostafa Bhuiyan said: “I have recently been appointed to the post. As I am still being briefed on my duties, and responsibilities, I am unable to make any comments regarding the delay in the handover of the project.”