Govt to rope in big firms to finish languishing irrigation projects

The projects — to be awarded on a turn-key basis for completion in three years — are being treated as single entities, unlike in the past where the work was broken in pieces and handed over to a multitude of contractors

In order to expedite several languishing projects of the Irrigation Department, the state government has decided to award these to big private firms on a turn-key basis for completion in three years.

The department has drawn up a list of pending projects and officials are now roping in big firms with large turnover, both financially and in terms of number of projects, for executing them. The projects are being treated as single entities, unlike in the past where work was broken in pieces and handed over to a multitude of contractors.

"The system is more convenient for both, the firm and the department. The projects can now be monitored easily. Big firms with professional working can handle them in a more organised way as they possess the necessary expertise, experience and inventory," said Deepak Singhal, Principal Secretary, Irrigation.

"We are giving all these projects on a turn-key basis. The process is transparent, through inviting bids. If the firm does not complete the work in the stipulated time, there will be heavy penalties. The old approach of awarding tenders by fragmenting the work and roping in several small contractors has been scrapped," Singhal stated.

A K Ojha, Chief Engineer, Irrigation, said that they had set a target to complete all pending projects in the next three years.

An official said there are 39 irrigation projects which have been delayed by 36 to 408 months. Because of the delay, their cost has shot up manifold. There were several reasons for the delay but once the projects are handed to a single firm, the work will be streamlined. "Steps are also being taken to remove other hurdles such as land acquisition problems and scarcity of funds," he said.

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