Notwithstanding the hectic lobbying by AP chief minister Chandrababu to replace Transstroy, the original contracting firm constructing Polavaram major irrigation project, with his favourite Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Limited (MEIL), the Centre has categorically made it clear that there is no question of changing the contractor at this stage.
The Union ministry of water resources reportedly communicated to the state government that changing the contractor at this stage would only lead to further cost escalation and hence cannot be allowed.
According to sources, the current contractor Transstroy should be supported to see that the dam work was completed at the desired pace. Efforts are on to complete the main dam work across the Godavari river by March 2019.
“Changing the contractor at this juncture would lead to cost escalation. The project has already seen it. Hence, we are of the view that the current contractor should be continued with, and give the contractor support required to complete the work,” a ministry source said.
In 2014, the estimated cost of the multipurpose irrigation project — accorded national project status — was Rs 16,000 crore. The estimated cost has been revised to Rs 40,000 crore.
Naidu made a last ditch effort to change the contractor when he met Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari over the issue in Nagpur four days ago.
Naidu reportedly told Gadkari that the contractor was allegedly not taking interest in completing the work on schedule. But, the officials told the minister that it was not advisable because of the cost and time overruns.