More funds for completion of projects

Special Correspondent

Chief Minister admits to delays in execution of irrigation projects

Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) method defended for awarding contracts

Efforts on to expedite the completion of 37 projects on a priority: Ponnala

HYDERABAD: The government has begun an exercise to prioritise irrigation projects and allocate more funds to those which are nearing completion.

Intervening during a lengthy discussion in Question Hour, Chief Minister K. Rosaiah said that there were delays in the execution of irrigation projects in spite of sincere efforts by the government to complete them. In this context, he cited how the Telugu Ganga project could not be completed by successive regimes after it was launched by former Chief Minister N.T. Rama Rao.

EPC method defended

Earlier, Major Irrigation Minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah defended the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) method for awarding contracts in the wake of criticism by TDP members. He said that it was being followed world over and also by various State governments.

He sought to allay the fears expressed by Opposition members and declared that the government would not allow any violations in the basic parameters of the projects being executed under the EPC method. Escalation was provided only for steel, cement and fuel and for labour and material.

So far, 12 projects were executed and another 19 were partially completed. Efforts were on to expedite the completion of 37 projects on a priority basis and an amount of Rs.3,500 crore was earmarked for them.

‘Exchequer burdened'

Opposition members contended that the EPC method was not beneficial and burdened the exchequer due to steep escalation in the cost of projects. They sought projectwise details of the original and revised estimates. D.L. Ravindra Reddy (Congress) said the EPC system had failed and wanted an alternative method to be tried.

Leader of Opposition N. Chandrababu Naidu (TDP) alleged that the tenders were called by violating the spirit of EPC under which rates and time have to be frozen.

So far, Rs.50,000 crore was spent and it was now estimated that a staggering Rs.1,80,000 crore would be required to complete all the ongoing projects.

Alleging that the projects had become non-performing assets, he demanded the appointment of a House Committee to prioritise their execution.