SAC’s decision remains unimplemented even after lapse of over 2 and half years

Re-tendering of Lower Kalnai Hydroelectric Project in Doda

PDC fails to tap potential during past nearly 13 yrs

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Feb 20: In a testimony of dilly-dallying and non-serious approach towards tapping power potential, the Jammu and Kashmir Power Development Corporation has failed to implement the decision of the State Administrative Council (SAC) regarding re-tendering of 48 Mega Watt (MW) Lower Kalnai Hydroelectric Project in Doda district despite lapse of over two and half years.
The State Administrative Council in its meeting held on June 20, 2019 under the chairmanship of the then Governor Satya Pal Malik had accorded sanction to the termination of the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) and Project Management Consultancy (PMC) contracts for the 48 MW Lower Kalnai Hydroelectric Project, updation of the Detailed Project Report (DPR) and re-tendering of the remaining works of the project under EPC mode.
It was observed in the meeting that the project was awarded on EPC basis in September 2013 to M/s Coastal projects Pro Limited and was scheduled to be completed in September 2017. However, due to poor progress of work and listing of coastal projects in the insolvency list of Reserve Bank of India (RBI), a committee recommended termination of the contract and encashment of Performance Bank Guarantee.
The SAC had also approved revision of the DPR to exclude the works already executed and to include only the balance works, updation of the DPR to the present price level and re-tendering the balance works of the project under EPC mode. Even Commissioner/Secretary Power Development Department and Managing Director of Power Development Corporation were authorized to take the required action in this regard in a time bound manner.
However, the SAC decision has remained unimplemented till date as the Power Development Corporation has failed to re-tender the work, official sources told EXCELSIOR, adding “it is really a matter of serious concern that procedural formalities for re-tendering of the balance works have not been completed despite lapse of over two and half years”.
“Had prompt action been taken on the decision of the SAC much headway could have been made on the balance works till now”, sources further said, adding “this project is the testimony of dilly-dallying and non-serious approach of all the concerned authorities as the decision about construction of 48 Mega Watt Lower Kalnai Hydroelectric Project was taken in the month of December 2009”.
Due to inordinate delay in re-start of work on the project the entire expenditure made before abandoning of work has remained unfruitful, they said, adding “in the year 2019 the Power Development Corporation had mentioned in the list of under construction hydro projects (above 25 Mega Watt) that Lower Kalnai Project would be completed by 2022-23 subject to re-start of work”.
“Keeping in view the prevailing situation, nobody is in a position to specify any time-frame for the re-start and completion of the project which was planned 13 years back”, sources said.
When contacted, Raja Yaqoob Farooq, Managing Director of the Power Development Corporation said, “we will re-tender the balance works within next few months”. However, he preferred not to talk more on the project.
It is pertinent to mention here that contract of PMC of Lower Kalnai was awarded to M/s ICCS-Rodic Consultants Consortium which was to be completed within 48 months. In view of poor progress of the main EPC Contract, the PMC was asked to minimize its manpower deployment. Subsequently, the PMC demobilized their staff, handed over the records and formally closed their services in August, 2018.
According to the sources, several local contractors who were engaged by M/s Coastal Projects Limited and had carried out different works by spending huge money from their own pockets or by taking loans from the banks have not been given payments till date even after making representations to the Government a number of times.