CM unveils 182 drinking water supply projects

Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Friday inaugurated 182 drinking water supply projects and laid foundation for 555 similar schemes. He launched the projects for the urban poor through video conferencing at an indoor stadium in Cuttack.

“This will give 100 per cent piped water coverage to every street, habitation and house of all the 113 urban local bodies (ULBs) of our state,” Patnaik said after inaugurating the projects.

The projects were built at a cost of Rs 157 crore. Patnaik also laid foundation for 555 drinking water projects which would cater to the needs of the people of 101 ULBs in the state at a cost of Rs 783 crore.

Though the state was earlier dependent on neighbouring states for water testing, the same would be done with new testing laboratories in six cities of the state which were also inaugurated by the chief minister. The new testing labs will flirtation at Cuttack, Puri, Bhubaneswar Sambalpur, Rourkela and Baripada.

BJP-BJD spat

Meanwhile, BJP leader and Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan inaugurated GAIL India’s piped natural gas project at Bhubaneswar.

Interestingly, the inauguration spree of piped gas and water projects by heavyweights of opposition BJP and ruling BJD has triggered, once again, a war of words between the saffron party and the ruling BJD. For example, Pradhan, whom the state BJP is now projecting on every occasion ahead of polls, took a jibe at BJD government over its piped water project, non-reduction of VAT on fuels and for allegedly creating hindrances in implementation of the piped natural gas project in the state.

Addressing a gathering after inaugurating the gas project, Pradhan said, “It took 17 years for the Naveen government to understand that the urban poor populace of Orissa requires potable water.”

With Centre facing backlash over tax on petrol and diesel, Pradhan passed the blame on to BJD as well asking why the government here is not slashing VAT on fuel, when Centre has already reduced tax on fuel-Rs 2.48 on petrol and Rs 2.33 on diesel.

“Who hindered the work of GAIL pipeline laying here?” Pradhan asked while blaming the state government for not showing interest in the implementation of the piped natural gas project in the state.

Pradhan’s question gave the ruling BJD a shot in the arm to hit back. It came up with a letter sent to the Centre in 2009 pleading for supply of natural gas to house-holds in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack.

Coming down heavily on Pradhan and the saffron camp, BJD spokesperson Pratap Keshari Deb said: “Chief Minister had written to the hon’ble Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) October 3, 2009 to supply natural gas to the houses of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar as the pipeline was to pass through the state.” Had it been implemented in time it would have helped the state immensely, Deb said.

Stating that Pradhan’s claim on the piped natural gas project is ‘false’ and ‘misleading’, Deb said, “Why he (Pradhan) took it so late to launch the GAIL project?”

Deb further said that such huge number of piped water projects are being implemented in the state because of the vision of the Chief Minister and as part of the development works of the BJD government.

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