CHENNAI: Even as Tamil Nadu and Karnataka continue to lock horns over the Rs 1,334-crore Hogenakkal Water Supply and Fluorosis Mitigation Programme, the state government here is moving ahead of schedule to ensure that the scheme for water-starved Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts is completed by 2012.

In a significant development towards implementing the much-awaited water supply project for the two drought-prone districts the Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board (TWAD) is all set to invite global tenders for civil works from Monday. The move comes barely a month after the government appointed a Japanese consultant for project management.

Official sources told The Times of India that the TWAD would invite global tenders for civil works which have been divided into five packages.

The Tokyo-based Nippon Koei Corporation which began its work evaluating the project report for nearly a month, has given its nod for inviting tenders for the project. The Japanese Bank of International Cooperation, the main funding agency for the project, also cleared the project report.

TWAD managing director Swaran Singh had written letters to embassies of various countries about the mega water supply project, appealing to them to inform their leading construction firms to participate in the tender process.

Tenders will be invited initially for the first package comprising important works including construction of head works, master balancing reservoir, treatment plant, pumping station and a sump. Subsequently, tenders will be called separately for the other four packages, mainly civil works like laying of pipes for the main line and distribution lines and construction of booster station and service reservoirs, sources said.

With the detailed project report ready, the firms can even offer design parts and also execute the civil works.
“If they come up with some new innovations, we welcome it,” observed a senior official.

With the process of holding pre-qualification bids and other formalities yet to be undertaken, actual works on ground are expected to begin by January.

The project management consultant Nippon Koei, engaged for five years, will appoint 52 Indian engineers to monitor the work in Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts. Besides their staff, the TWAD will also depute its team of engineers. The annual maintenance cost of the project has been estimated to be around Rs 60 crore.

The two drought-prone districts have a high level of FLUORIDE in the ground water – as high as 9 mg/litre – as against the permissible limit of 1.5 mg prescribed by the WHO. Villagers here have been suffering from various diseases, including skeletal fluorosis and dental fluorosis. Sources said 1,200 villages have been affected by fluoride content, and 330 villages were identified as worst hit in the two districts.

Under the fluorosis mitigation component, an agency has been appointed to conduct awareness programmes at schools and community level about the disease. The project will benefit nearly 30 lakh people in five municipalities, 11 town panchayats and 6,755 rural habitations in the two districts.