SRIKAKULAM: The chances of the Srikakulam administration meeting the January 5 deadline set for the Vamsadhara project appears bleak as the officials say that given the slow pace of the works, the project may not be completed before March next year.
“We need more time to complete the project. We have sought an extension of two months to which the government has given its nod,” said Collector K Dhananjaya Reddy. The project envisaging supplying irrigation water to 2.55 lakh acres of farmland in Srikakulam district by the coming Kharif kickstarted with a budgetary allocation of `1616.23 crore.
However, the project ran into many hurdles, with the opposition from the project villages against the evacuation drive undertaken to complete it in time topping the bill. Under the R&R package, the government has so far allocated `421 crore to the eligible evictees. However, only five out of the total 19 villages have been vacated so far. The district administration is claiming that all the villages would be evacuated by the November-end.
However, the slow pace of the ongoing works has emerged as the major barrier to meet the January 5 deadline. The Vamsadhara reservoir works started from Katragada village in Bhamini mandal along Andhra-Odisha Border (AOB) where the works related to side-viewer complex and flood canal were undertaken in an extent of 33.7 km and the project is being executed in 87 packages. Despite the release of funds in time, the works are moving at a snail’s pace. Only seven structures of the proposed 26 have been completed so far, say the officials.
Legal Tangle “The side-viewer complex and balancing reservoir works undertaken at Singirdi are yet to reach 50 percent. Those will be completed by the February-end. We have completed seven structures so far and are waiting for approval for two structures,” said Vamshdara project 87th package executive engineer M Vijaya Kumar. He blamed it on the legal tangle. The government had to redesign the construction owing to the interstate water dispute after the Odisha government moved the Supreme Court stating that the proposed Neredi Barrage would submerge the villages in the neighbouring State. However, the tribunal judgment favoured AP but said that Odisha government would acquire 106 acres for which AP government had to pay a compensation, he said.
Narrating the reasons for the delay in the execution of the works, director of Ritwik Constructions, the contracting agency, Govardhana Naidu said that the government had handed over the project site on October 22. Further, the water stagnation owing to the recent rains delayed the works. The works undertaken in the 88th package are in full swing and it has been completed in 13 km of the total 18 km stretch. “Around 25 structures of the proposed 33 are nearing completion.
The progress of the earthworks, CM works and CC lining works in the 88th package have been put at 40, 55 and 20 percent respectively,” said 88th package EE R Appala Naidu. Meanwhile, the Hiramandalam reservoir works, which was scheduled to be ready by January 5, has been extended until February next year. “The road diversion works was approved very recently which caused the delay,” reasoned out Hiramandalam reservoir package EE MA Seetaram. He said that the works undertaken at Tulagam canal were started recently after the government handed over the site. “By the end of February next year, the reservoir can store the scheduled 8 tmcft of water while its full reservoir capacity will be 19 tmcft which will be achieved by June,” he added.