Pump house without power: VIDC’s Rs 1,116 cr cruel joke at Mokhabardi stuns activists

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 02 Oct 2017 09:22:16


By Rajendra Diwe,

After spending Rs 1,116 crore, in the name of a Lift Irrigation Project at Mokhabardi, what exists is a pump house without power supply, old building shining with new coat of paint, canals without proper lining, incomplete works, inefficient contractors and indifferent officials. Mokhabardi is yet another shameful example of monumental inefficiency displayed by Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation (VIDC) whose project cost rose to more than 100 times from mere Rs 18 crore to Rs 2,577 crore. Irony is after spending Rs 1,116 crore so far and Rs 145 crore in last two years, when the project was in utter neglected condition, barring cosmetic lipa-poti, nothing had changed.

However, the Vidarbha Sinchan Shodh Yatra activists who had visited the same Mokhabardi Lift Irrigation Project (LIS) on Maru river, a subsidiary of Vainganga river in Mokhabardi village in Bhiwapur tehsil in December 2015 and were shocked to sheer waste of public money, were in for more shock on Sunday, when VIDC officials had the audacity to claim that nearly 95 per cent work was over.

Mokhabardi project was in the controversy after generosity displayed by VIDC towards a Jalgaon based contractor MKK Tapi Prestrade Product Limited in doling out Rs 32.55 crore for incomplete work came under judicial scanner and led to enquiry by ACS rank officer. Practically nothing has changed in last 22 months, rued Jan Manch President Adv Anil Kilor who is leading Yatra along with members of the Loknayak Bapuji Aney Smarak Samiti, Janmanch, Bhartiya Kisan Sangh, Swadeshi Jagran Manch and VED Council.

During first leg of Sinchan Shodh Yatra on December 6, 2015 it was observed that even after spending Rs 1,021 crore not a single drop of water for irrigation reached the farmland. As on October 1, 2017, VIDC claimed to have spent Rs 1,116.44 crore on the same project but even then not a single drop of water has reached any farmer.

Making yet another tall claim, VIDC engineers claimed that around 90-95 per cent work was over while two years ago the figure was pegged at 70-80 per cent. Yatra participants found to their astonishment that instead of making pump house functional, improving lining and providing benefits of irrigation to farmers, the VIDC officials chose to paint the pump house, spruce up inside premises, colour the abandoned pipes to portray a honky-dorry picture. So far, MSEDCL could not provide electricity to the pump house, since the supply line passes through forest area.

According to Superintenting Engineer Prasad Narvekar “It is because of delay of work by contractors and hurdles due to Forest Department, the electric supply could not reach to Pump House. Now, the number of poles have been increased from 76 to 206 to by-pass the forest area and this work is in progress, claimed VIDC authorities. We have spent Rs 25 crore more on this. As soon as the land acquisition for the same will be over, the electricity will reach to the Pump House. By December 2017, the pump house will be functional.”

Despite such a grim reality, the engineers including Dr H.D. Chandewar (Executive Engineer) Prasad Narvekar (Supreintending Engineer), Sameer Suresh Dani (Executive Engineer Mechanical), Shrikant Doye (Deputy Engineer Electrical), S A Pathak (Executive Engineer) and R V Deshmukh (assistant Engineer) have confidently dished out another deadline to bring water in main canal upto 23 kms by June 2018. The engineers have claimed that the remaining work would be completed by December 2017, and farmers would get water for irrigation during next Kharip season.

Yatra participants found that VIDC officials spruced up entire premises and the machinery is properly installed inside pump house. In December 2015 construction work of 44.41 km long main canal was given to two contractors- Shrinivas Construction of Rama Rao and MB construction of Mitesh Bhangadiya. Shrinivas construction had completed the work till 23.85 kms and remaining work was completed by MB constructions. Unfortunately, the construction of lining wall of main canal prima-facie appeared to be shoddy. The representatives had collected the remains of concrete from the lining walls and Samiti members were shocked that thickness of lining wall was barely 5 cms as against the mandated 10 cm.

Experts apprehended that such a thin lining of sub-standard quality would be washed away in the very first flow of water in the canal. The situation of branch canals, disributaries, sub canals and minors was equally disgusting. Huge trees had grown, cracks surfaced on the walls and about 600 mt main canal from 37.74 kms to 38.40 kms had gone missing.
On October 1, 2017, practically nothing has changed. Janmanch President Adv Anil Kilor expressing his disappointment over this sorry state of affairs wondered as to why despite long judicial battle and availability of funds, the project could not be commissioned in last 22 months?
Umred MLA Sudhir Parve who accompanied the Sinchan Shodh Yatra was also shocked to see the shocking ground reality.

He said, “The Mokhabardi LIS is in my assembly constituency, I will see to it that it will get completed in due course. There are many irregularities observed on the part of contractors, bureaucrats and politicians, but with in short time I will organise a meeting of members of all organisations which participated in Sinchan Shodh Yatra with Maharashtra Chief Minister and will look for a positive and immediate solution, so that the farmers will get water for irrigation.” Janmanch members Pramod Pande, Naresh Kshirsagar, Ram Akhare, Milind Raut, K D Dabholkar, Shrikaht Daud, Baba rathod, Devendra Dhindodkar, Uttam Sudke, Pralhad Kharasne, Prant President of Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, Nana Akhare, Vidarbha Chief, Ajay Bondre, VED representative Nitin Marlewar, President of Loknayan Bapuji Aney Smarak Samiti, Advocate Avinash Kale
also expressed their views for the positive results to complete
the project.