Assembly panel picks holes in dredging work at Ariankuppam

‘Dredging Corporation of India will not be able to meet target within stipulated time’

April 27, 2017 12:16 am | Updated 09:00 am IST - PUDUCHERRY

Ongoing work: Dredged sand being deposited on the north and south of the Thengaithittu fishing harbour. File photo

Ongoing work: Dredged sand being deposited on the north and south of the Thengaithittu fishing harbour. File photo

The Estimates Committee of the Legislative Assembly has taken strong exception to the “tardy progress” in the dredging work at the Ariankuppam river mouth.

The committee, which visited the dredging site on Wednesday, was of the opinion that the Dredging Corporation of India (DCI) would not be able to meet the target of removing 3 lakh cubic metres of sand within the stipulated time period.

Shortly after the visit, chairman of the committee A. Anbalagan told The Hindu that even three months after commencement of dredging work, DCI was only able to remove about 70,000 tonnes of sand.

The Corporation, he said, had assured to deploy its hi-tech machinery having the capacity to remove 500 cubic metres of sand per hour in a radius of 2 km for the dredging work.

Besides the delay in carrying out dredging work, the committee had faulted the government for allotting the work to DCI without tendering process.

Previously, when a tender was floated for excavating sand from the mouth, a private operator had quoted ₹225 per cubic metre while the Kerala State Maritime Development Corporation had quoted ₹305 per cubic metre for dredging 1. 4 lakh cubic metre of sand.

But the DCI was charging ₹484 per cubic metre and this had led to a huge loss to the government exchequer, he said.

The government had allotted the work to DCI at the insistence of Lt Governor Kiran Bedi on the ground that the Corporation was a public sector undertaking.

The Committee had also decided to inspect the Karaikal port to ascertain the veracity of complaints about the private player operating the port, Mr. Anbalagan said.

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