The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has flagged serious lapses in the Hogenakkal Water Supply and Fluorosis Mitigation (HWSFM) project. The CAG report, tabled in the Assembly recently, stated that defective planning and implementation led to groundwater mixing with piped water and defeated the mission objective to supply safe drinking water to people in Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts.
With groundwater in Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri having fluoride content between 1.5 -12.4 (mg/l) which is well above the WHO guideline value which is 1 mg/l., the project was proposed in 2008 at an estimated cost of Rs 1,334 crores. The plan was to draw water from Cauvery at Hogenakkal. In 2010, the cost was revised to Rs 1,928 crore.
The project caters to three municipalities (including Hosur which later became a corporation), 17 town panchayats and 7,639 rural habitations where over 11.94 lakh people were found to have skeletal or dental fluorosis. The volume of water required for the two districts was 167.21 MLD and HWSFM would provide 126.54 MLD.
The CAG report stated that defective planning led to a supply of contaminated water. In their study it was found that 30 LPCD was supplied to rural habitation. As per the Government of India's norm 40 LPCD should be supplied in rural habitation. To adhere to the norm, 10 LCPD of groundwater, which had high fluoride content was used. Further, studies conducted in 195 habitations revealed that 66 habitations had more than 1.5mg/l fluoride.
The report further stated that the project had failed to provide connection to individual households. The project was envisaged to provide 100% households in urban areas and 70% water supply to rural areas. However only 66,167 of the 1,86,360 households in urban areas were provided with connections. In rural areas water was supplied through public facilities (mainly overhead tanks), only 7.02 % of rural households were provided with connections.
Moreover, the project was supposed to provide safe water to all schools across Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri. The report reveals that of the 3,409 schools a total of 1,096 schools have not been provided with connection.
When contacted, Dharmapuri Collector Dhivyadarshini and Krishnagiri Collector Dr Jaya Chandra Bhanu Reddy, stated that they were yet to receive copies of the report and could comment after studying the report.