Kanupur Irrigation Project: Naveen Writes to Union Minister Nitin Gadkari over Delay in Execution of Four- lane Bridge over Kanupur Spill Channel by NHAI

Bhubaneswar: Expressing concern over the delay in execution of four- lane bridge over Kanupur Spill Channel by NHAI, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today wrote to urged Union Road Transport & Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari urging him to intervene in Kanupur Irrigation project.

The Odisha Government has undertaken construction of Kanupur Irrigation project ,a major irrigation project over River Baitarani in the state of Odisha which will create an irrigation potential of 29578 ha in the tribal dominated Keonjhar district. The project is being funded by Central assistance under AIBP. The construction works for the project has been started since 2004-05, and yet to be completed because of various problems, the Chief Minister said.

“At present we have completed major headwork components except the earth dam in the river gap and five blocks of the spillway. These left-over components are suspended temporarily because of the fact that a 315m long 4-lane bridge is to be constructed over the spill channel at Km 173.325 of Rimuli-Roxy-Rajamunda Section of NH215 (New NH 520) by NHAI. The NH runs parallel to the 3460m long earth dam in this portion and the above-mentioned bridge remains a major bottleneck in completion of the balance components”, Naveen mentioned in the letter.

The Odisha CM further stated that the NHAI did not take up the work on its own after several meetings and correspondence at different levels, construction of the bridge came to the scope of Kanupur Project Authority after obtaining the consent of NHAI. Accordingly, Project Authority started the work for the tendered cost of Rs.40.68 crore out of which NHAI agreed to bear 80% and the balance by the Project Authority. But, later on, the cost of the bridge was revised to Rs.100.53 crore due to change in its design because of underground geological conditions; and this matter was brought to the knowledge of NHAI. However, NHAI did not agree to bear their share of 80% of the revised cost, so the work was stopped, the CM said.

In order to resolve this matter, a meeting was held on 07.03.2019 between the Chairman, NHAI with the Principal Secretary, Department of Water Resources at New Delhi. Principal Secretary stated in the meeting that since NHAI remained firm in bearing 80% of the initial cost of Rs. 40.68cr. And nothing beyond that amount was acceptable to them, the work undertaken by DoWR is being considered for termination. He requested Chairman to take up the work at their level; and under such circumstances Government of Odisha is ready to bear the committed 20% of the original design cost of Rs.40.68 crore.

After the meeting, Kanupur Project Authority has stopped the work and terminated the contract and intimated contract closure matter to the Project Director, NHAI, PIU, Rourkela to enable NHAI to initiate the construction process since August 2019. In the meantime, more than one year has elapsed, and neither the work has been started nor any response as regards to plan, program, and implementation of the bridge has ever been communicated by NHAI to the Project Authorities despite several correspondences.

“Since Government at present is taking all out steps for the early completion of Kanupur Irrigation Project and is committed to economic upliftment of the tribal community by providing irrigation to the agricultural fields, completion of the bridge carries a lot of importance not only to us but also, I am sure, to Central Government”, Naveen said.

The Chief Minister requested the Union Minister to intervene in the matter in providing an early solution to the issue.

Any delay would lead to further cost escalation of the project and loss of benefit it is intended for, the CM added.

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