Govt orders special audit of Tawi Barrage Project

GVR Infra’s claim of expenditure to get verified
IIT Roorkie to give advice for completion of left over works

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, May 30: In order to verify actual expenditure and quantify the work on the project of immense importance, the Government has ordered special audit of River Tawi Gated Barrage Project to be conducted by a team of four officers. Moreover, it has been decided to seek advice of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkie for the completion of the project within specified technical parameters.
The special audit of the project has been ordered by Dr Arun Kumar Gupta, Principal Secretary to Government, Finance Department vide Government Order No.357-FD of 2019 dated May 29, 2019.
The audit will be conducted by a committee of officers comprising of Director General, Centrally Sponsored Schemes in Planning, Development and Monitoring Department, Development Commissioner Works, Chief Engineer Roads and Buildings Department Jammu and Director Codes Finance Department within a period of 15 days.
Stating that special audit will serve twin purposes, official sources told EXCELSIOR that during this exercise actual expenditure on the project and the claim of M/s GVR Infra Projects Limited will get verified. Moreover, this exercise would help in exact quantification of the already executed works.
“The exact assessment of expenditure and quantification of work will help the State Government in projecting true picture about the River Tawi Gated Barrage Project before the Madras High Court where Arbitration Petition filed by M/s GVR Infra Projects Limited is still pending for disposal”, sources informed.
Moreover, special audit will pave the way for floating of fresh tenders for the completion of left-over works on the project, which is of immense importance as on one side artificial lake to be created due to construction of barrage will help in providing 120 cusecs of water to huge chunk of agricultural land during peak requirement and on the other side will become a source of attraction for the tourists.
“There is no hurdle in resumption of work on the project by floating fresh tenders as Madras High Court has already vacated the interim injunction regarding termination of contract allotted in the favour of M/s GVR Infra Projects Limited”, sources said, adding “though about 85% work on the project has already been completed yet it is difficult to specify the time-frame for its completion in all respects although special audit is the foremost step for resumption of work”.
They further informed that Government is all set to take expert advice from the IIT Roorkee so that project is completed within the specified technical parameters and by taking care of other related aspects.
It is pertinent to mention here that directions in this regard were issued by the Advisor to the Governor K K Sharma while discussing the status of the project coming up at an estimated cost of Rs 110 crore in the month of January this year.
The work on the project was abandoned by M/s GVR Infra Projects Ltd in the month of February 2017 and as it failed to re-start work despite several notices issued by the Irrigation and Flood Control Department the Government finally on the recommendation of State Level Contract Committee terminated the contract. However, the decision of the State Government was challenged by the company in the Madras High Court by filing Arbitration Petition.
Despite repeated calls to ascertain the status of Arbitration Petition there was no response from the Commissioner/Secretary to Government, Department of PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control Ajeet Kumar Sahu.
The project is comprised of 31 gates—11 in Badi Tawi and 20 in Nikki Tawi and it was approved at an estimated cost of Rs 70 crore. The project has already missed numerous deadlines mainly because of dilly-dallying approach of M/s GVR Infra Projects Limited.
The developments vis-à-vis this project are also being monitored by the State High Court in a Public Interest Litigation titled Inderjeet Khajuria Versus State of J&K and Others.
On December 6, 2018, the Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Gital Mittal had impleaded M/s GVR Infra Projects Limited as party respondent and issued notice to the company.