Raising a lake on Tawi was announced with great fanfare way back in 2010. To give credibility to what people are accustomed to treat with tart disdain, the bombast of completing the project by 2013 was added to the announcement. Seven years have gone by and the work is yet to be completed. Not only that, barely two years after the announcement was made it was learnt that the construction agency M/s GVR Infra Project had abandoned the work. The Government maintained stoic attitude not telling the public what the truth about the project was. However, Daily Excelsior intermittently raised the issue and asked nagging questions about the fate of the important project.
Thereafter, the Minister for Flood Control and Irrigation came out with another bombast that the work on the project will be resumed because the outstanding issues with the construction company have been resolved and that within four months the lake will become functional. How much trust should one place in the words of the Minister is a different question. What the people would want to know first is why the construction company was forced to abandon the project. Now, the Chief Engineer states that M/s GVR Infra people have tied-up with another private agency in view of some financial crunch. On December 22, the work was restarted and the work on re-erecting broken pier has been launched. Who is this “another private agency” with whom M/s GVR have tied up for joint enterprise? On what basis has the Government approved the additional company has not been disclosed. Is it a local company and has it the requisite expertise and equipment? These questions crop up because we have an instance in which these issues cropped up and caused some embarrassment to the Government.
The point we want to underline is that this is a totally failed project. What the Chief Engineer says is not corroborated by facts on the ground. Nearly 50 crores have been exhausted according to the confessions of the authorities and 15 crore rupees liability is outstanding by way of money withheld from the constructional company. What has been the outcome of spending 50 crores? It is nil. A pyre so flimsy has been raised that with one stroke of flood in 2014 it tilted and now has to be dismantled. This is the progress on the project. The truth is that the entire project seems very shady and there could be many skeletons in the cupboard. The Vigilance Organization should take up a suo moto case and probe into the reasons of abandoning, payment withholding, re-inducting, and associating another company and many other matters. There appears sinister design behind all this. Authorities when contacted try to circumvent the basic issues by speaking technical jargon, something in which ordinary citizens not interested at all. That is the language of engineers and technicians and let them speak it among themselves. Ordinary man wants that the lake should have come up so far. Jammu citizenry considers it a big joke with them.