JAGATSINGHPUR: Use of poor quality materials in ongoing construction work of embankments in Ersama and Balikuda blocks under National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project (NCRMP) has invited criticism from the locals as well as the experts.
Expressing doubt over strength of the embankments in withstanding natural calamities, they have demanded an inquiry into the work which has been going on for the last three months.
With support from International Development Association of World Bank, construction of the embankments is being carried out under NCRMP at a cost of `68.67 crore to reduce the impact of cyclone in Ersama and Balikuda blocks.
An amount of `23.88 crore is spent on raising and strengthening the six-km embankment from Patua to Kalabedi via Gadaharishpur in Ersama block under the supervision of Executive Engineer of Mahanadi South irrigation division, Cuttack, and engineers of Odisha State Disaster Mitigation Authority (OSDMA).
Similarly, `26.03 crore is spent on construction of seven-km embankment from Bandar to Kathgadi sluice gate of reach 1(A) and `18.75 crore for reach 1(B) of the same embankment. This work is being carried out by two contractors under the supervision of Executive Engineer of Jagatsinghpur irrigation division and engineers of OSDMA.
Sources alleged that contractors in nexus with engineers of the two irrigation divisions are using construction materials of poor standard. Locals alleged that the embankments will not withstand the impact of tidal waves.
Sarapanch of Gadharishpur Sandhyarani Bhoi said saline soil and weak iron roads are being used for construction at both the places which will not withstand the calamities. “Saline sand will be easily washed away and it will also affect the longevity of iron rods being used. Usually, saline soil corrodes the iron materials in the long run,” she said. Though locals have time and again alleged faulty engineering and use of poor quality materials in the work, officials concerned are yet to take note. They had also in the past written to the OSDMA and both the irrigation divisions but to no avail.
Collector Satya Kumar Mallick admitted to have received several complaints in this regard. “After being informed by the Managing Director of OSDMA, I visited the construction sites of Bandar to Kathgadi saline embankment to supervise the work there,” he added.
Executive Engineer of Mahanadi South division Ashok Samal said steps are being taken to ensure that the construction work is done according to specifications. An amount of `seven crore has already been spent on construction of embankment from Patua to Gadaharishpur to Kalabedi in Ersama block till date.