Posted on March 16, 2017
By Ashok Dash, politicalbusinessdaily
Lack of dredging has put Odisha’s lifeline Mahanadi river in danger of running dry.
The situation is such that if dredging is not carried out soon, the river may run dry in the early days of summer season. Sources said red tapism has taken a toll on the river. With tender yet to be finalized, the much needed dredging of the river has taken a backseat.
Sources privy to the tendering process reveal that the tender floated by OCC Limited, while undergoing technical scrutiny okayed as many as four participant companies Ocean Sparkle of Chennai, ABC Dubash – Mumbai, DDC – Kolkata, United Dredging – Vizag in a short listing. While Ocean Sparkle was credited with L-1 rating, the others were rated L-2.
It has been alleged that Ocean Sparkle has violated the terms of agreement of the tender papers by depositing Term Deposit Receipt instead of Fixed Deposit Receipt, though both have the same meaning in economic parlance. When the file was submitted to the State Advocate General for his legal opinion, he stuck to condition of the original tender. The Advocate General okayed the FDR conditionality nullifying the TDR.
This deprived Ocean Sparkle of the L-1 rating. Sources said the next company in the tender process is automatically qualified for the rating. However, due to some vested interests, the process has not even moved an inch. The relevant files are now lying with the Water Resources Department for its nod.
The people in know of the development are of the opinion that though the Orissa High Court had opined that Indian Oil should pay Rs.240 crore for the dredging in lieu of drawing water from the river, the State Government has been playing spoil-sport by delaying the tender process. Sources said if the work begins during monsoon season, it would be a virtual waste of money as the river may get flooded.
Sources stated that the dredging work got delayed further due to the recently concluded local body polls in the State. The Mahanadi Bachao Samiti is gearing up to stage a massive protest in this regard in coming days.