Cloud of uncertainty looms over Ghatakeswar water project

Published: 09th March 2018 02:16 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th March 2018 05:42 AM   |  A+A-

Ghatakeswar multi-purpose project site in Kukudakhandi | Express

By Express News Service

BERHAMPUR: With the retirement of two members of the tender evaluation committee, uncertainty hovers over Ghatakeswar multi-purpose project (GMPP) which was proposed to meet both irrigation and drinking water needs of the region.Sources said the project was proposed to provide water to non-irrigated lands of eight villages in three panchayats under Kukudakhandi block in Ganjam district and meet drinking water demand of 17 villages in the block along with Gosaninuagaon area of Berhampur city. The foundation stone was laid by former chief minister J B  Patnaik in 1986.

However, the proposal remained in cold storage for almost two decades. In 2006, the State Government started the process for construction of GMPP. The project feasibility was discussed at the Technical Advisor Committee (TAC) of Minor Irrigation Project on September 2, 2006 under NABARD assistance of `29.16 crore. But the project failed to take off.

In 2016, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik laid the foundation stone again to construct the GMPP at a revised cost of `170 crore. Odisha Construction Corporation Ltd (OCCL) was engaged for the work. However, the irrigation authorities re-estimated the cost at `118 crore during scrutiny and set a target to complete the work within two years.

For construction of dam, spillway and head regulator, the OCCL had invited tender on October 7, 2016 with last date fixed on November 9, 2016. But the bidders raised objection due to demonetisation and the OCCL cancelled the tender. This is the fourth time that the OCCL has cancelled the tender for the work. Though a tender process was finally completed successfully and a Visakhapatnam-based firm was selected in November 2017, an MoU is yet to be signed due to some discrepancies in the agreement papers. In order to verify the papers, a four-member tender evaluation committee comprising two Engineers-in-Chief (EICs) and two Chief Engineers was formed. While the committee is unable to complete their task even after two months of its formation, the two EICs retired recently.

Experts said usually the second lowest bidder should be called for negotiation, if the first lowest bidder fails to comply. But nothing of this sort has been done and  the project has been dragged into uncertainty. Now, a new committee should be  formed or the second lowest bidder be called for negotiation. If the process is not finalised within two or three months, the construction of the project cannot be taken up during rainy season, they added.

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