Coronavirus pandemic has stalled development projects of Chattogram WASA as most of the foreign engineers have left the construction sites
The second phase of the Karnaphuli Water Supply Project-2 was scheduled to be test-launched next June. The project will enable Chattogram WASA to stream 140 million litres of water per day to households in the port city. Japanese contractors under a South Korean firm were working on the Tk4,492 crore project.
The project fell in trouble as Japan repatriated its citizens following the novel coronavirus outbreak in Bangladesh.
Like the Karnaphuli water supply project, a number of other development projects of Chattogram WASA became stalled as the coronavirus pandemic broke out.
Most of the foreign engineers and contractors of the ongoing projects returned home due to the pandemic. The crisis has also put some project funding in limbo.
Concerned officials said all the development projects will almost certainly miss the deadline because of the prolonged virus situation.
Meanwhile, Chattogram WASA has been struggling with increased demand as people are using more water for handwashing and other cleaning activities now.
Chattogram has a daily demand of 430 million litres of water while Chattogram WASA can supply only 370 million litres. The launching of the Karnaphuli water supply project (Phase 2) alone could have resolved the shortage in June this year.
Chief Engineer of Chattogram WASA Maksud Alam said they were continuing the projects through alternatives measures.
"Nearly 80 percent of the work on the Karnaphuli project has been completed. We hope to complete rest of the project by September-October this year once the Japanese workers return," he added.
The Karnaphuli Water Supply Project-2 (Phase 2) consists of four packages —
setting up a water treatment plant, constructing one water intake plant, installing transmission pipelines and distribution pipelines.
Of the total Tk4,492 crore project cost, the government will pay Tk845 crore while the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) will provide Tk3,853 crore of project assistance.
On condition of anonymity, sources at Chattogram WASA said that construction of the water reservoir and the elevated tank under the project are yet to be completed.
Other projects also hit a snag
The Chattogram WASA sewerage line installation project is also in limbo. The government was supposed to pay the total cost of Tk3,808 crore for the project which was supposed to start this June.
However, the authorities are yet to appoint consultants and finalise the design of the project.
Meanwhile, the Bhandal-Juri Water Supply Project to bring the southern part of the port city under the water supply network is also moving at a snail's pace.
This water supply project with 60-million litre daily production capacity consists of setting up a water treatment plant, transmission, conveyance and distribution pipelines and two reservoirs. The pandemic hit the project while the construction was going on in full swing.
The pandemic has also affected the 11-kilometre pipeline construction to boost water supply to the Bakalia and the Patenga areas. The construction of the Chittagong Water Supply Improvement and Sanitation Project was almost at the last stage.
Chattogram WASA Chief Engineer Maksud Alam said the tender for the sewerage line installation project could not be floated due to the ongoing virus crisis.
"Funding is not an issue here as the project has not even begun," said Engineer Maksud Alam.
"I think other projects will not face any funding issue. Besides, several donor organisations have financed the ongoing projects," he added.