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Narmada pipeline plan in limbo

india Updated: Nov 03, 2006 14:53 IST
Anil Dubey
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IF THE attitude of the State Government towards the project of bringing Narmada to the Capital is any indication, its commitment towards work of public welfare is certainly in question.

Despite giving a green signal to the project in its very first Cabinet meeting three years ago, the present government – through the tenure of all its three chief ministers – has been inexplicably apathetic towards expediting its implementation, so much so that it has been sitting on the tender approval process from the last five months.

The foundation stone for the project was laid with huge fanfare more than 18 months ago in April 2005. Moreover, the BJP government in the State is going to complete three years after a month. But the project is yet to get anywhere near implementation. Nobody knows as to why the project is waiting for the State Government’s approval.

The Superintending Engineer, PHE, A K Payasi, in charge of Narmada Project, told the Hindustan Times that tender has been waiting the State Government’s approval. He said that there might be different views about the project at different levels. Payasi hoped that the State Government would soon approve the tenders so that actual works could be started.

However, sources in the PHE said that the State Government had sent back the file related to Narmada Project for the justification of rates. For a tender of Rs 194 crore, the contractors had offered the rates from Rs 265 crore onwards. Afterwards, the related file was again forwarded to the State Government for the justification of rates along with analysis with the RBI index.

In the tender process started about a year back, three companies, including Nagarjuna Construction Company Limited, Kirloskar and Subhash Project Marketing Limited (SPML), had responded to the Notice Inviting Tender (NIT). Of these, the bid of SPML has been lowest.

SPML is the same company that had bagged the contract of laying pipeline under the jinxed Kolar Augmentation Scheme-II in the year 1999.

That scheme is also yet to be implemented. In the NIT for Narmada pipeline, the PHE had asked for the glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) pipes, or mild steel (MS) pipes or bar-wrap steel cylinder (BWSC) pipes for bringing Narmada water to Bhopal.

Of these, MS pipe is considered the best for such projects. In the category of two types of pipes – GRP and MS, the rates of SPML are learned to be the lowest while the rates of Kirloskar are lowest in BWSC pipe segment. Now, it is up to the State Government to decided that which type of the pipe is to be used for this scheme.

Water project fact file
1  The decision to bring Narmada water to Bhopal was taken in first Cabinet meeting of present BJP government in December 2003.

2  The foundation stone for the scheme was laid on April 29, 2005, by then BJP president Venkaiah Naidu.

3  The State Government has yet to approve the tenders of the Bhopal’s Narmada Water Supply Project even after five months. The tenders were submitted in July 2006 for the State Government’s approval.

4   The clearance to work on forest land of Ratapani Sanctuary from Central Empowered Committee on Environment, appointed by the Supreme Court, is yet to be taken.