KOCHI: During the last eleven years, the Pallivasal extension scheme, a 60 MW hydroelectric project of KSEB had been dragging on without any end in sight.Meanwhile, the State has been spending crores of rupees, purchasing electricity from outside, for making up the power deficit of 60 Million units per day. A lot of mediacoverage followed, many questions were raised from many quarters, Governments changed, but till today the project work is not restarted. What is plaguing the Pallivasal project, a serious search is done to unravel this mysterious project near Munnar.
The initial survey and investigation of the Pallivasal project had started as early as in the year 2000. It went on for many years and the DPR and Tender documents were prepared taking five long years. Finally, the tender was floated for bidding, by the year 2005. In 2007, that the project was awarded to the Mumbai based Essar group. Essar had formed a consortium with the Dong Fang Electric Corporation of China for supplying the Powerhouse machinery, and with the Coastal Projects of Hyderabad for carrying out the Tunnelling work.
The initial contract was for four years which means, by 01.03.2011, the Project must have been completed, commissioned and handed over to the Client.
A delay of seven years has already occurred, but till today there is no visible activity at the site in Pallivasal since it stopped in 2014. A questionnaire is framed to make a long story short and to assist the decision makers, including the Minister of Electricity to understand the ground realities.
1) The Intake collapsed in 2008 and Tunnel collapsed at Face-2 in 2011, Could KSEBL find a solution in the last 7 to 10 years? Please explain the reasons.
2) KSEB says that they have engaged NHPC for solving the Tunnel collapse issue. Why couldn’t more than 500 nos. of KSEB, in-house CIVIL Engineers solve this Civil Engineering problem?
3) Understand that Bhoomi Constructions is engaged for Tunnel and Intake work. Are they given the signed contract yet, if not why? If yes, when will they
start the actual tunnel boring work?
4) Does KSEB know that maximum of 135 days only will be available during January to May, for safely doing the Intake and Tunnel work, and during rainy reason, the mud and slush will prevent the civil work?
5) After conducting Bhoomi Pooja at Munnar, on 22.01.2018, how much work is done, other than road diversion?
6) KSEB says that the remedial actions suggested by E Sreedharan in 2012, were implemented, but failed. But according to Sreedharan, he rang up KSEB many times, but the response was lukewarm.
As per our enquiry at Pallivasal, we understand that KSEB never attempted the methodology which is suggested by Sreedharan, for reasons known only to them.
7) Did KSEB revise the rates of the ESSAR-DEC- CPL Consortium, for completing the balance works, from Adit-2 to Outlet pipe line? It is obvious that with the rates quoted in 2005, nobody could work in the year 2018.
8) The signatory of the original contract from KSEB is Chief Engineer, and hence the contract has to be amended as indicated in sr.no.7 above, by the Pallivasal office of Dy. Chief Engineer with full powers of Chief Engineer only.
9) As per our study, the only problem preventing the restart of the work atPallivasal Extension Scheme is that, the rates are not revised for the ESSAR-DEC-CPL Consortium. State if there is any other reason, and the action KSEB has taken to solve it.
10) Why KSEB could not revise the rates for the ESSAR-DEC-CPL Consortium, as per the CPWD SOR, or PWD SOR, which are widely accepted norms?
11) The valves in valve house were erected in 2012. The original drawing calls for RCC roof and the Contractor suggested Truss work and sheeting to facilitate future crane usage. How many years did KSEB take, to arrive at this decision and install sheet roofing?
12) KSEB says that, the power house machines are preserved as per the approved procedure. Whereas the subsequent TV visuals clearly indicate that the machines are in rusted condition, please explain this anomaly.
13) Does KSEB know that due to the inordinate delay in commissioning the project, all the guarantees and warranties of the machineries are expired?
14) KSEB says that, inspection of Penstock pipes lying in Senkulam, Meencutand other locations are being continuously done. But we understand that no records are available to prove this claim.
15)The recent media reports say that PES project has made a loss of Rs. 2900 crores, under the heads of Sunk investment, debt servicing,production loss,overheads, contractors’ claims and escalation in the revised estimate. Does KSEB agree with this figure?
It is obvious that corruption, inefficiency, incompetence and official apathy are the reasons behind this continuous delay in Pallivasal Extension Scheme. The intervention from the State Government is required to restart the work
The amended contract must be signed with the consortium, in the month of March itself, otherwise, one more year will be lost in monsoon.
Only this action though belated will save the Pallivasal extension scheme from getting abandoned totally.
Jacob Jose was the former Joint General Manager of Essar Projects
The views expressed by the author are his own