Andhra Pradesh

End of the road for UGD scheme in Guntur?

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TDP govt. paid 10% excess of tender amount to the contractor: Botcha

Is it the end of the road for the Under Ground Drainage (UGD) scheme being taken up in Guntur? After nearly three years of its initiation, the Union government funded scheme seems to have run into a dark tunnel with indications coming from the State government that the contracting firm should opt for financial closure of the project. While the latest move might save the government’s exchequer, but it further compounds the woes of people who have been forced to put up with bad condition of roads for three years.

The recent visit of Minister for Municipal Administration Botcha Satyanarayana dropped enough hints of the intention of the government. When asked by a reporter if the government is mulling other options, the Minister curtly replied that the previous government had paid 10% in excess to the contractor — Shapoorji and Pallonji Engineering and Construction firm — and even before the firm had completed 50% of works, the government had paid ₹390 crore.

“We will review the UGD scheme and our initial findings reveal that the contractor has been given tender 10% in excess of the bid. The firm has also been paid ₹390 crore, though it has not even completed 50% of works,” said the Minister.

‘Only 50% works complete’

The UGD scheme is a Centrally funded scheme taken up with a funding of ₹903.82 crore, out of which the share of the Union government is ₹540 crore while the State government/ULB share is ₹363.82 crore. The execution of the scheme is taken up under Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) model where the onus of designing, construction and maintenance of the scheme lies with the contractor. The duration of the scheme is 36 months beginning from September 9, 2016, but the firm could only complete 50% of works under various heads.

The UGD scheme has four essential components — sewer pipeline network, manholes, inspection chambers, sewerage treatment plants and road restoration. The firm which has stopped works since May this year, could lay only 544 km of pipeline out of the target of 1,083 km, the number of manholes laid were 20,104 as against the target of 43,574 , 27,035 inspection chambers were set up as against the target of 87,148 and just 171 km of road network has been restored as against the target of 596.05 km.

While admitting that the project has been delayed due to various reasons, the firm says that it would complete the project as it had already procured machinery worth crores. “We have already procured UGD machinery months back and we will complete the project if the government releases the remaining balance,” says a representative of the company.

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Printable version | Dec 11, 2019 5:29:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/end-of-the-road-for-ugd-scheme-in-guntur/article29872823.ece

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