G.V.R. Subba Rao
VMC officials hold contractors responsible for sluggish pace
State Government yet to release nearly Rs. 1 crore under APURMS project
VIJAYAWADA: Even as summer sets in, the construction of 16 reservoirs taken up by the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and the Andhra Pradesh Urban Reforms and Municipal Services (APURMS) project has not made much progress.
The reservoirs, when completed, will cater to the drinking water requirements of more than two lakh people in the city.
While some are being constructed to improve and augment the water supply in some localities, others are aimed at providing water supply facilities in the unserved areas.
But most of these projects are still in germinal stages due to slow pace of works. VMC officials hold the contractors responsible for the uneven progress.
Some officials admit that non-release of funds is one of the main reasons for the slow pace of work.
The VMC is dependent on the funds to be released under the JNNURM and the APURMS for completing these projects.
The State Government is yet to release nearly Rs. 1 crore under the APURMS project for three water supply schemes in the city.
Similarly, the VMC has received only Rs. 6.21 crores in 2006-07 under the JNNURM, as against the sanctioned Rs. 35.48 crores.
The VMC is expecting another Rs. 72.31 crores for augmentation of water supply under the second phase of JNNURM.
An official in the engineering wing of the VMC says that the pace of work solely depends on the ability of the contractor. Only eight contractors have been found to be executing in time the works sanctioned to them. Also, as some of the contractors are non-locals, the works are progressing at a slow pace. The delay is also on account of some contractors giving the works to sub-contracts, he explains.
For instance, the Elevated Level Service Reservoir (ELSR) under construction near Indira Gandhi Municipal Corporation Stadium was scheduled to be complete by June 2007. The work on this project began only on December 18, 2006, though it was scheduled to start on September 16, 2006.
Similarly, work on a reservoir at New Rajarajeswaripeta, which is estimated to cost around Rs. 80 lakhs, is no exception.
Contrary to these, the work on an ELSR at Kundavari Kandrika is moving at a frenetic pace and it is expected to be completed in a couple of months. Interestingly, work on this as well as on the one at New Rajarajeswaripeta began around the same time. The difference, according to an official, may be attributed to the contractor's ability to get the funds released in time.