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After Failed Outsourcing, JK to Get Two New Dredgers, Take Project in its Own Hands

Posted on April 25, 2017

By Moosa Hayat, The Kashmir Monitor

After the contractor failed to complete the dredging of the river Jhelum in time, the state government has decided to procure dredging machines and take the entire project in its own hands.

Earlier this week, Chief Engineer Irrigation and Flood Control (I&FC), Mohammad Hanief Lone, met with the officials of Union Ministry of Water Resources and State Irrigation at New Delhi and got an approval to procure two new dredging machines.

“I met Dr Amarjit Singh, Secretary to the Union Ministry of Water Resources in Delhi, and he approved our demand of buying two more dredgers,” Hanief told The Kashmir Monitor.

The department has already purchased two dredgers in 2010 which they were using to dredge the river at Sopore and Baramulla.

However, in wake of the 2014 floods, the department, in a bid to speed up the dredging work, assigned to Kolkata-based Reach Dredging Limited the contract to dredge 25 kilometers of the river from Pantha Chowk to Wular Lake in north Kashmir.

The firm, however, could not meet its deadline, which was consequently extended from January 2017 to April 2017.

“They couldn’t meet the target multiple times, so we have withheld their payments. They will face appropriate action for failing,” Hanief said.

He added that once the machines arrive, the dredging “would go round the year”.

The Chief Engineer I&FC said that the department has floated the tenders regarding procurement of the machines.

He said that it will take three or four months for the department to procure these dredging machines.

“The dredging process is still going on despite all the rumors about the halt in work. The de-silting processes will intensify after we procure the machines. We have also blacklisted the firm for its incompetence,” he added.

The Chief Engineer said that he was not sure of the exact cost of the machines.

Kashmir has been on the brink of floods six times since the 2014 deluge.

Just weeks ago, on April 6, I&FC declared floods in Srinagar after three days of rainfall had the Jhelum filled almost upto brim.

Hanief argued that the solution to increase the carrying capacity of the Jhelum was the removal of encroachments, elevating its banks, and outfall channelisation.

“Dredging of the Jhelum is not the only way to deal with the floods. There is cluster encroachment on its banks from Srinagar to Noor Bagh, we have to deal with that, but people will rebuild the razed encroachments overnight and then protest about our incompetence,” Hanief said.

As per him, Rs 399-crore project started in 2015 will be completed by the year end and its phase II, including dredging of the Jhelum tributaries and canals, will be undertaken immediately after.

“We are preparing the Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the phase II, which will take a few weeks,” he said.

He further added that Rs 152-crore project at Khushipora and Naidkhai areas of north Kashmir was on cards.

Source: The Kashmir Monitor

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