Andhra Pradesh

Polavaram works lose pace

Rain, equipment breakdown, delay in bills payment cited as reasons

Excavation work at the Polavaram dam site is way below the weekly target. The amount of concrete work done is just half and work on the diaphragm wall has been stopped for the season.

The reasons given for this performance are rain, breakdown of equipment, and delay in the payment of bills.

Out of a weekly target of 4.2 lakh cubic metres (CuMs), just 1.93 lakh CuMs of earthwork could be achieved.

While 1.78 lakh CuMs was excavated in the spill channel, only 0.15 lakh CuMs could be excavated from Hill No. 902.

This was because of the breakdown of Liebherr 996, the biggest excavator on the Polavaram project site. The huge French excavator by itself does 15% of the excavation.

Another major reason for the fall in excavation is that the sub-contractor, Thriveni, stopping work for three days saying that it did not have money to buy diesel.

The main contractor, Transstroy, did not pay the bills for the last two months, complains Thriveni.

Transstroy says that it has received only ₹23 crore for June and paid ₹19 crore to L&T and Bauer. It has to pay ₹19 crore to Thriveni for July, but that could be done only after the release of ₹62 crore that is in the pipeline.

Concrete work

The pace of concrete work has also fallen drastically in the week ending August 14.

While nearly 80,000 CuMs of concrete work was done in July, only 10,000 CuMs could be in August and the remaining 70,000 CuMs has to be done in 15 days.

During the week ending July 31, a record 21,000 CuMs of concrete work had been done.

Rain and shortage of cement and admixture are cited as the reasons for the tardy pace or concrete work.

Transstroy had to plan the purchase of materials well in advance. But pending bills seem to be the obstacles for it to make proactive purchase.

Central funding

At a weekly review meeting of the Polavaram project held on July 24, it was said that payment of ₹3,793 crore was pending from the Centre for the project.

The State government expected a payment of ₹1,000 crore in July, but even that amount has not been paid. The remaining ₹2,793 crore would be paid in principal only after the Detailed Project Report (DPR) is submitted.

Despite a fervent appeal by the Secretary for Water Resources to the Polavaram Project Authority (PPA) for submission of the DPR as soon as possible, Andhra Pradesh was told that the report would be submitted in August second week. But that too has not happened.

CM forms panel

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister, who personally monitored everything in the weekly virtual reviews and monthly physical reviews, appointed a committee comprising Department of Water Resources Engineering-in- Chief M. Venkateswara Rao, dam construction expert Bhargava Prasad, and PPA member-secretary R.K. Gupta for close supervision.

Some are seeing the formation of the committee as a move by Mr. Naidu to distance himself from the project.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 8:54:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/polavaram-works-lose-pace/article19520245.ece

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