Confusion still prevails over completion of pending works on Tawi Barrage Project

IIT Roorkee suggests raising height, strengthening of embankments

Several timelines for tendering process missed

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Feb 25: Even after directions from the Lieutenant Governor and Advisor, confusion is still prevailing over the completion of pending works on Tawi Barrage Project mainly because of inordinate delay in allotment of contract. Moreover, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee has suggested raising height of the barrage and strengthening of embankments of the river to avoid damages to the adjoining areas.
The project was originally sanctioned in the financial year 2010-11 at a cost of Rs 70 crore by dovetailing funds from various sources with an aim to create pondage for creation of artificial lake. However, the project was stalled on account of contractor’s inactivity for 7 years leading to cancellation of awarded tender and related cost escalation.
The Administrative Council headed by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha in its meeting held on October 19, 2021 approved the revised project for construction of balance works of Tawi Barrage at an estimated cost of Rs 73.34 crore.
It was mentioned in the decision of the Administrative Council that revised project will be completed within 10 months of allotment through e-tendering at an estimated cost of Rs 131.53 crore which includes the additional grant of Rs 73.34 crore and already incurred expenditure of Rs 58.19 crore.
“On completion, the project will promote water recreation and sporting facilities besides boosting commercial activities around the artificial lake which in turn create employment opportunities for locals and attract tourists to Jammu city”, the Administrative Council had observed.
Thereafter, in a meeting held under the chairmanship of Advisor to the Lieutenant Governor Farooq Khan on October 28, 2021, it was informed that the Irrigation and Flood Control Department was in process of inviting tenders for taking up pending works and NITs will be published within days. It was further informed that the civil and mechanical works would be executed simultaneously to complete the project within fixed timelines.
However, the tendering process has yet not reached the logical conclusion till date as such no time-frame can be specified for re-start of work on the much-hyped project and its completion, official sources told EXCELSIOR.
“The Irrigation and Flood Control Department had floated the tenders for balance work after incorporation of suggestions made by the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee few months back but the process was stopped abruptly because of some reasons”, sources said, adding “the tenders were floated for the second time on February 4, 2022 and the technical bids will be opened on February 28 and thereafter other procedural formalities will be completed”.
“In such a situation, nobody in the administration is in a position to specify when the project conceived several years back will become reality”, they further said, adding “though the Government is still claiming that project will be completed within 10 months after the allotment of contract yet there are remote chances of meeting this deadline keeping in view the already pending works and additional works suggested by IIT Roorkee”.
The IIT Roorkee has suggested raising height of the barrage by three feet as the earlier height was decided keeping in view the flood-level of previous years but the experts have suggested that design should be based on the flood-level of 2014 keeping in view the devastation caused by it. Moreover, it has suggested strengthening of embankments of river in upstream and downstream of the barrage so as to avoid damages in the adjoining areas due to pondage.
Moreover, hydro-mechanical component will have to be executed entirely as no attention was paid on this aspect because of inordinate delay in completion of civil works, sources further said, adding “it would be only after the successful completion of present tendering process that some tentative timeline can be decided for the completion of project”.
When contacted, an officer of the Irrigation and Flood Control Department, while admitting that tenders have been floated for the second time, said, “if all goes well we will try to complete the project as early as possible”.