BARIPADA: The delay in completion of multipurpose Subarnarekha Irrigation Project (SIP) in Mayurbhanj district has resulted in huge cost overrun. It’s been 22 years since the project’s inception in 1995. It is far from being complete, though.
The SIP was aimed at irrigating 1,09,627 hectares in Balasore and Mayurbhanj districts. The survey and ground work for this project were undertaken with the help of Work Bank in 1982-83. Later, the Work Bank pulled out of the project, leaving the State Government to complete the work with its own funds.
As per the guidelines, its chief engineer is expected to float tenders for the project and award the work to L1 contractor. Sources said the chief engineer had floated a tender on 23 September, 2015 for construction of its main canal at a cost of Rs 55.25 crore. Five contractors had applied for the same. However, the Water Resources department cancelled the tender on 1 February 2016, stating that the estimated cost of the canal work was inadequate for the project’s completion.
The department recommended the project authorities on 11 March 2016 to award the work to Odisha Construction Corporation Limited (OCCL). The cost of the canal work was raised to over Rs 67.28 crore. The work was given to OCCL, which sublet the tender to DD Builders Limited, sources said.
The Water Resources department awarded several other works of the project to OCCL. The OCCL was awarded Rs 149.51 crore Haldia Slipway work in 2017-18 and Baisinga feeder construction at Rs 98.53 crore.
Sources claimed that OCCL again sublet these works to DD Builders. The Water Resources department had directly handed over the work to OCCL, sources added.The State Government spent Rs 158.22 crore for land survey and other preliminary works in 1982-83. A technical advisory committee in 1993 had pegged the estimated cost of the project at Rs 1,013.68 crore. The estimate was earmarked for the SIP in Odisha.
The construction work was undertaken in 1995. It was supposed to end in 2000. In 2013, the foundation for a canal work of the project was laid to irrigate 20 hectares. The department had set 2017 deadline for completion of the project.
Now, the department had pushed the deadline to 2019. According to sources, State Government, NABARD and Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP) are expected to spend Rs 3,915. 39 crore by June 2017-18.
Requesting anonymity, a senior officer of the SIP said OCCL is a government agency and each tender is finalised by it. The SIP has no power to allot the tender to the contractor, he added. “The project’s progress depends on the Government and OCCL,” he said.