Polavaram Irrigation Project: Changing contractor may lead to cost escalation, say ministry sources

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New Delhi | Published: October 21, 2017 12:24:44 PM

The Andhra Pradesh government may be keen on changing the prime contractor for the ambitious Polavaram project but the Ministry of Water Resources is of the view that it can lead to further cost escalation.

Andhra Pradesh, Polavaram, Polavaram Project, Hukum Singh, N. Chandrababu Naidu, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Himachal PradeshThe sources said efforts are on to complete the main dam work across the Godavari river by March 2019. (PTI)

The Andhra Pradesh government may be keen on changing the prime contractor for the ambitious Polavaram project but the Ministry of Water Resources is of the view that it can lead to further cost escalation. Sources in the ministry suggested that the current contractor should be supported to see that the dam work is completed at the desired pace. The sources said efforts are on to complete the main dam work across the Godavari river by March 2019. “Changing the contractor at this juncture would lead to cost escalation. The project has already seen it. Hence, we are of the view that the current contractor should be continued with, and give the contractor support required to complete the work,” a ministry source said. In 2014, the estimated cost of the multipurpose irrigation project — accorded national project status — was Rs 16,000 crore. The estimated cost has been revised to Rs 40,000 crore. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu had met Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari over the issue in Nagpur four days ago.

Naidu reportedly told Gadkari that the contractor was allegedly not taking interest in completing the work on schedule. Naidu also reportedly said the government needed to change the contractor to see the work is completed by mid- 2019. Gadkari had inspected the Polavaram works in the first week of this month. He had ruled out the possibility of finishing the project by 2018 and promised to try his level best to complete it before the 2019 elections. The Andhra Pradesh government had repeatedly promised to complete the project (cofferdam) by June 2018 and supply water through gravity. However, its timeline has been reset to mid- 2019.

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