Govt defends higher revised estimates for Gurupriya

Bhubaneswar: The state government Monday defended its decision to award contract for the delayed Gurupriya bridge construction through ‘EPC mode’ citing its 2013 notification and technical reasons.

The matter came to the fore when it was raised by BJP leader KV Singh Deo in the state assembly Monday through an unstarred question.
In response to the query, the state Minister for Works, Steel and Mines Prafulla Mallik in a written statement defended the decision. In his reply, the minister said, “The bridge was taken up in the EPC mode as per the government of Odisha notification No 10446 dated September 25, 2013 which stipulated the EPC mode of contract for all civil construction works costing more than `20 crore as conventional item rate contracts tends to suffer significant time and cost overrun.”
The minister also said that ‘item rate contract’ was not feasible for such a project. The minister said, “Execution of the bridge technically challenging as the site is located inside the Balimela reservoir basin with water depth varying between 20-28mm, which requires innovative technology and construction methodology,” besides adding that ‘Item rate contract’ would not be feasible for such type of technically complex work as has been observed during unsuccessful bidding attempts made for this project in 2010-11 under the LWE scheme of the Centre.
In another reply on the matter, the minister said that Gammon India was awarded the work during October 2006 through competitive bidding and the agency was well aware of the site condition and complexity of the project before bidding but it backtracked and later did not come up despite persuasion and the state government was not ready to accept the arbitrary price offer of the firm for the project due to which the plan was botched up.
The department also tried to defend the revised escalated price of the bridge. Mallik said, “The initial estimate was `47.03 crore during 2006…The revised estimate was `104.38 crore during 2014 taking into consideration the site condition, technical complexity of the work, innovative technology and construction methodology. The revised cost of `187.25 crore is duly approved by the government.”