AFD team holds talks with CM, Ministers on drinking water scheme

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The government has decided to go-ahead with the construction of borewells as part of augmentation of drinking water supply in the urban areas.

The government’s intent to take forward the drinking water project was conveyed to a team of officials from AFD (Agence Francaise De Development), the funding agency for the scheme, when they called on Chief Minister N. Rangasamy and Minister for Agriculture C. Djeacoumar at the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday.

The AFD team also held discussions with Minister for Public Works K. Lakshminarayanan on Monday. A team, comprising Pierre Schryve, task team leader, Water and Sanitation Division, Paris Headquarters, AFD, Bruno Bosle, Director, AFD India and Ankit Tulsyan, project manager, Water and Sanitation Sector, India, are on a two-day visit to Puducherry to hold consultations with the Puducherry government. Consul General of France Lise Talbot Barre was also present at the meetings.

AFD, the French bilateral development finance agency in 2017, had entered into an understanding with territorial administration to provide a credit facility of ₹534 crore for augmentation of water supply in urban areas. The plan was to sink new borewells near the river beds of Uruvaiyar, Thennpennai and Malattar to address the growing demand for potable water in urban limits..

The agency has released around ₹49 crore and as per the agreement the scheme was scheduled to be completed in June 2022. Since the commencement of the scheme faced major delay, the government approached the agency for extending the scheme for another five years.. .

“Last year end, we have agreed in-principle to extend the scheme for another five years. The delay in taking up the project was due to administrative reasons and also certain objections raised by a few organisations. In the meeting with representatives of AFD, the Chief Minister has made it clear the government’s intention to go ahead with the project. The agency was also convinced about the project. After working out the modalities on the extension of credit facility, the government has decided to sink a few wells as part of the pilot project near Malattar,” a top official told The Hindu.

A new agreement has to be signed and the subject to extend the scheme has to be taken up with the Ministry of Economic Affairs, said another official.

The team also discussed with government about their plan to set up an office for AFD to execute the project and formation of a technical team. They also discussed with government the progress of consultations with farmers, proposed compensatory measures and steps for environmental safeguards.


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