Detailed proposals were made by the Department of Local Government under the guidance of Principal Secretary A Venu Parsad and CEO of PMIDC Ajoy Sharma for supplying treated potable water through canal in these three cities.
Sidhu said considering huge investment requirement in this project, the Punjab government has approached the Centre for arranging funds through external funding agencies such as the World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The total cost pertaining to the implementation of the project in the three cities is Rs 3,508.10 crore, the minster said, adding the process of approval and sanctioning of loan from lending agencies and selection of contractor is expected to be completed within 12 to 14 months.
The cities have witnessed sharp decline in ground water levels in the last few years. The situation is worsening due to unregulated and over extraction of ground water.
As per the reports of Central Ground Water Board, the groundwater levels in these cities have declined at an alarming rate of approximate one metre per year in last three-four years.
The report mentioned that the extraction of ground water in these cities was 150 per cent more than the net groundwater availability, and therefore, these areas have been declared in 'dark zone' category.
The proposed works will include water treatment facilities, transmission network, additional storage facilities and revamping of old and damaged distribution system of the city area.
Amritsar with population of 11.37 lakh will be served treated surface water from MBL canal. The works will require investment of about Rs 1,339.24 crore.
The city of Patiala, with a population of 4.45 lakh, will get water from Bhakra canal and will require investments of the order of Rs 700 crore, for construction of new facilities and revamping of existing distribution system.
The deterioration of groundwater quality is the major concern in the cities. The CGWB reports indicate that groundwater in shallow aquifers of Ludhiana and Amritsar, closer to industrial units, was contaminated due to presence of heavy metals.
The deeper aquifers has also started showing water quality deterioration as the values of certain parameters such as hardness, total dissolved solids, alkalinity are exceeding the acceptable limits of drinking water as per the norms.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)