The Government of Madhya Pradesh implemented an integrated lake conservation program (1995-2004) that included a sewerage scheme based on the diversion, treatment and disposal of sewage outside the lake catchment area.
Due to undulating topography, work involved the laying of 68.73 km trunk sewer line and 24.78 km force mains; construction of as many as 10 large and 5 small sewage pump houses; as well as 4 waste stabilisation ponds for the diversion and treatment of the sewage. Emphasis was placed upon low cost, labour intensive and less energy requiring treatment technology in order to minimise operation and maintenance costs.
The State Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) was primarily responsible for the planning and designing of the scheme. The Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) was to be responsible for the operation and maintenance of the scheme. Subsequently a division of PHED under the control of the Project Directorate implemented the scheme, with the understanding that the scheme would be handed over to the BMC on completion.
In 2000, the BMC passed the by-laws making it mandatory for house owners to make individual sewerage connections to the new system. However, at the end of the project period in 2004 when the sewerage system was to be handed over to BMC, the BMC refused to take over the responsibility of operation and maintenance of the system.
The Government consequently decided to allocate a budget directly to PHED, on the understanding that it would take over the responsibility of operation and maintenance of the system through one of its divisions. However, progress in ensuring individual household connections to the main sewer lines has been poor, due to lack of willingness on the part of BMC to cooperate with the PHED.