Govt may shelve Wullar dredging project

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Kashmir Wire

Srinagar

The government may not go ahead with the signing of an agreement with a Joint Venture company that was earlier tasked to clear Wullar Lake of the encroachment on its banks and the bottom, highly placed sources indicated.

“There are serious procedural issues involved,” one well-informed source in the government said. “It has been examined already at various levels and it has serious issues.”

The Wular Lake (File Image)

The project aimed at clearing the mass plantation on the banks of the lake that has choked the space and reduced the water space is being cleared under a huge project. It may eventually cost Rs 400 crore to the state exchequer.

Sources said the project was bagged by the JV Company on the single tender basis which violates the established procedures. Two companies Hubei Hongyan Engineering Company Limited has partnered with Reach Dredging Limited, an Indian company, for the JV and submitted its tenders floated by Wular Conservation & Management Authority (WUCMA), a forest ministry organization. There has not been any other company that submitted its tender. Reach Dredging, a Kolkotta based company is already working on Jhelum dredging.

The government had set up a ministerial committee to evaluate the project and it has okayed the idea with a split in recommendations. Some ministers have strongly highlighted the procedural issues compromised in the process, sources said. Part of the funds have already been released by the Central Government but have not been spent.

Another highly informed sources said that the recommendations made by the cabinet sub-committee have not been submitted to the government because all the members have not signed it. “It was not signed by the Finance Minister and he is the only member who has not signed it,” the official said. “All other members have signed it.”

 

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