RAJASTHAN: A RIVULET IN REPAIR
CM Raje’s bid to resuscitate Dravyavati
When she became chief minister in December 2013, Vasundhara Raje promised to reclaim and clean up the Dravyavati, a rivulet aka Amanishah nullah that had become a reeking drain along its course through Jaipur city. Originating in the Nahargarh hills, the rivulet has a sixth of the city’s untreated sewage and large amounts of garbage dumped into its already shrunk channel owing to rampant encroachment.
True to her word, Raje has ensured the allocation of Rs 1,672 crore “to bring back the lost grandeur of Dravyavati” by October 2018, just in time for the state assembly polls expected later in the year. The CM is determined to showcase the venture like Ahmedabad’s much-talked-about Sabarmati Riverfront project.
Flagged off by Raje last August in the presence of the then Tata Group chairman Cyrus Mistry, the project was awarded through the Swiss Challenge Method to a consortium consisting of Tata Projects and the Shanghai Urban Construction (Group) Corporation (which is already working on three metro rail projects in India). The Jaipur Development Authority (JDA), which is implementing the project, has secured a Rs 1,098 crore loan from the National Capital Region Planning Board and hopes to raise the remainder from the state.
Already beginning to take shape in places, when complete, the restored rivulet will feature a 47 km concrete-lined shallow channel varying in width from 150-400 feet with 100 fall structures to store storm water. Five sewage treatment plants (STPs) with a combined
capacity of 170 MLD (million litres per day) are also planned to ensure that no raw sewage flows into the Dravyavati.
To be built and maintained for 10 years by the consortium, the project includes the redevelopment of riverbanks with walkways, cycle tracks, park benches and 16,000 new trees planted across a 65,000 square metre green belt and three public gardens. The JDA hopes to recover a significant portion of the investment by auctioning some 115 hectares of land it hopes to reclaim by evicting encroachers. A town square, commercial park, culture plaza and a fashion street are also said to be in the pipeline.
However, Raje’s dream riverfront beautification project is not without
RAJE HAS SET ASIDE Rs 1,672 CRORE “TO BRING DRAVYAVATI’S LOST GRANDEUR BACK BY OCT 2018”
its critics. Pradesh Congress Committee chief Sachin Pilot, for instance, is questioning the priorities of her government, insisting that infrastructure should take precedence over beautification. “This government says that it has no money to rebuild roads or for garbage disposal or an efficient public transport system,” he says. “Yet, it has somehow found around Rs 1,700 crore for a project of questionable viability.”
Ironically, Raje, who abandoned the second phase of the Jaipur metro, citing its unviability, has rejected any apprehensions over whether her river venture would end up becoming a ‘white elephant’, given the seeming impossibility of maintaining perennial flow along the 47 kilometres of a seasonal storm rivulet. But JDA commissioner Vaibhav Galeria is confident that the chief minister’s river project will transform and beautify Jaipur in “a way that cannot be imagined”.
Will it? Or will it join the ranks of grand whimsical ventures like Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati’s Ambedkar Park in Lucknow?
Concrete lining the channel WORK IN PROGRESS