R. Jagadeeswara Rao

Agencies, officials trade charges

Presence of Maoists one of the reasons for suspending work

As per agreement work was to completed by March 2007

Visakhapatnam: ‘You clear our claims, we will resume work’ This is the reported plea/demand of the agencies executing the work of packages 87 and 88 of Phase 11 of Stage 11 works of Vamsadhara irrigation project, rechristened Boddepalli Rajagola Rao irrigation project. ‘You resume the work first, we will clear the claims’ was the stand of the senior officials of the irrigation department overseeing the execution of the work of the prestigious Rs.933 crore Vamsadhara project which was taken up as part of State Government’s Jalayagnam programme more than three years back. This is the sort of ‘Catch –22’ situation that the two packages are caught in.

Machines withdrawn

It may be recalled that work on these two packages was suspended by the two executing agencies nearly six months back. All machines from the work site had been withdrawn. The redesigned project envisages taking water from Vamsadhara river through a side weir at Katragada near Neradi where a reservoir was originally proposed, and store the same in three reservoirs by means of an 34 km-long main canal. This is divided into three packages -- package 87 (reservoir at Singidi) package 88 (reservoir at Parapuram) and Heeramandalam reservoir. Presence of Maoists was one of the reasons for suspending work, according to officials.

The agreement for the two packages was signed way back in March 2005. As per the agreement these are to be completed by March 2007. The extended date of completion was July 2007. It was further extended to March 2009. But officials overseeing work at the site feel that it is well nigh impossible to stick to the revised time schedule also. Perusals of progress report of these works reveal that the expenditure on the packages last month was ‘nil’. Same is the case for the last several months.

Enquiries with the officials of Command Area Development reveal that the executing agencies were requesting for extensions of time for completion of the work by at least six months beyond the twice revised date of March 2009. This was not conceded. On the other hand, officials had initiated steps for collection of ‘liquidated damages’ from the executing agencies.