Staff Reporter

Social activists want construction taken up by a public sector undertaking

The bridge near Haldiapadar to be executed at a cost of Rs. 23.78 crores

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik laid the stone for it on November 10

BERHAMPUR: Social activists of the city have demanded that construction of the proposed railway overbridge near Haldiapadar be taken up by public sector construction companies of the State.

They are in favour of the Orissa Bridge and Construction Corporation (OBCC) or the Orissa Construction Corporation Limited (OCCL) to take up the work on the portion of the overbridge, which is to be constructed by the State government. The foundation stone for this overbridge was laid by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on November 10.

At present the construction work is planned to be taken up by a private firm. But a group of social activists of the city alleged irregularities in calling tenders for the construction. The administrative approval of the project was made in July this year. The portion of work of the overbridge to be taken up by the State government was to be executed at a cost of Rs 23.78 crores as per the administrative approval. The State works department had invited tenders in August for the purpose.

Social activist Prabhat Kumar Mohanty said the works department for some reason invited tender at a cost of Rs 17.23 crores. Addressing a press conference on Tuesday Mr Mohanty said this sudden reduction of cost of expenditure was unwarranted.

He alleged that the cost of steel was quoted at higher rate in the tender. As per the tender papers the rate of steel to be used in the construction work was Rs 44,972 per tonne.

According to him the rate of steel of SAIL is Rs 35,500 per tonne and locally produced steel is being marketed at Rs 28,500 per tonne. As per these social activists this inflated cost would cause a loss of Rs 1.75 crores for the state government.

These social activists feel the State government can easily hand over construction work to OBCC or the OCCL without calling for tender. They said there was a norm that construction works worth less than Rs 100 crores can be handed over to these public sector companies directly. Meanwhile Mr Mohanty has approached the Orissa High Court against the alleged irregularities in the tender process.

This bridge would facilitate smooth flow of traffic from the city to the NH 5. The bridge on the railway track is to be constructed by the Railways, while the remaining construction is to be taken up by the State government.