Pb cabinet approves creation of special purpose vehicle for surface water supply schemes

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Chandigarh, Jun 2 (PTI) The Punjab cabinet on Wednesday gave its nod for the creation of a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for operations and maintenance of large multi-village surface water supply schemes across the state.

The move is aimed to ensure supply of potable water on a long term sustainable basis in rural areas of water quality affected districts.

This SPV -- Punjab Rural Water (Utility) Company -- under the Water Supply and Sanitation department will be a utility company, according to a government statement here.

During a virtual meeting, the cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, also accorded approval to open an account in the name of the SPV, with seed money of Rs 25 crore allocated from the World Bank funds (64 per cent) and state budget (36 per cent), to support its functioning in the initial five years, it said.

The allocation will help meet the shortfall in revenue collection, if any, to fulfill the contractual obligations of the SPV and its administrative expenses, the statement said.

The cabinet also authorised the chief minister, as chairperson of the State Water Supply and Sanitation Mission, to approve any amendments in the structure, role and responsibilities, and funding pattern which may be required in the future, it said.

The water supply and sanitation department is currently in the process of executing five new multi-village surface water supply projects covering 612 villages of Amritsar, Tarn Taran and Gurdaspur districts, and another project covering 408 villages in the fluoride affected blocks of Patiala and Fatehgarh Sahib districts.

Another project, covering 39 villages of Rupnagar district affected by iron/arsenic, was commissioned in 2019. Besides, a project in Moga district was completed in January 2021 with a total expenditure of Rs 218.56 crore, benefitting 85 villages and creating a positive impact on the lives of 3.64 lakh people, it said.

Giving details of the SPV structure, an official spokesperson said, it will ensure compliance of the contractual obligations by all stakeholders, so that the assets are properly maintained and there is coordination among various stakeholders which is water supply and sanitation department, contractor, gram panchayats and users.

The SPV, as an autonomous body under DWSS, will be governed by its own constitution, with ring-fenced accounts giving it financial independence.

The ownership of the assets created under the projects would vest with this SPV.

The SPV shall institutionalise mechanisms and SOPs for timely billing and collection to the contractor(s) for bulk water usage and provide social, institutional and technical support to the gram panchayat water supply committees (GPWSCs), cluster-level committees (CLCs) and scheme-level committees (SLCs). PTI CHS VSD RHL