ADB-funded water project making tardy progress

Razen Manandhar

Kathmandu, June 18:

A mega project funded by the Asian Development Bank is making tardy progress with only one-third of its work completed so far while it has spend over two-thirds of the stipulated time. The Rs 3.8 billion Small Town Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Project (STWSSSP) handled by the Department of Water Supply and Sanitation began in January 2001 and is scheduled to be completed by December 2006. The ADB has lent 65 per cent of the fund for the project, while 18 per cent has been provided by the government and 19 per cent by the local bodies. Work on the model project to provide drinking water to 40 or 50 small towns for 600,000 people is moving at a snail’s pace. A mere 36 per cent of the work has been completed in three-and-half years. The project aims to improve the quality of health and the living standard of the people in small towns by constructing new and renovating the existing water supply systems, drainage and sanitation facilities. It also aims to launch health and hygiene education programmes in the towns. This project is part of the 15-year Development Plan for Small Town Water Supply and Sanitation Projects of the government, which has identified 209 towns. The estimated cost of improving the water supply and sanitation services

is Rs 12.132 billion. “We have completed 36 percent of the work. I have to say that we may fail to meet the target within the given time period,” said Ram Mani Sharma, the project chief of STWSSSP.