Una, November 14
Work on the Swan River Flood Management Project which was being implemented by the state Irrigation and Public Health (IPH) Department with the assistance of the Union Government, has come to a halt due to lack of funds.
The estimated Rs 922 crore project had received the approval of the Union Ministry of Water Resources in 2013 during the UPA regime.
The cost of the project was to be shared in the ratio of 70 to 30 per cent between the Centre and the state. Under the project, stone pitched embankments were to be created on both sides of the 73 tributaries of the Swan river, besides the main stretch of the river from its origin in Marwhari village to Jhalera bridge.
The Central assistance amounting to Rs 123 crore was received in 2013-14, after which no assistance has been received. According to information available with the IPH Department, Rs 107.8 crore for 2014-15 and Rs 116.5 crore for 2015-16 as Central assistance is pending, while the state has already given Rs 200 crore out of its total due share of Rs 265 crore.
When contacted, IPH Superintending Engineer NM Saini said paucity of funds had stopped further work on the project.
He said about 40 per cent of the total 390 km embankment work had been completed at a cost of Rs 323 crore, adding that all necessary clearances by the Central Water Commission and other agencies were regularly being submitted to the Union Ministry.
He said the process of tendering of works amounting to Rs 250 crore had been finalised. But, the award letters to the contractors had been withheld due to lack of clarity regarding further funding.
He said the department was already facing liabilities amounting to Rs 75 crore and some of the contractors had even taken legal recourse against the department for the payment of their dues.
While the BJP and the Congress leaders have claimed credit for sanctioning the project, which, if completed will help protect about 15,000 hectares of prime agriculture land.
Caption: A stone pitched embankment along the Swan river in Una. Photo: Rajesh Sharma
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