Cash crunch rocks Thumbe dam II

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MANGALORE, October 21: Unless the Mangalore City Corporation acts swiftly and braces itself for an additional outlay of Rs. 32 crore, early completion of the second vented dam at Thumbe will remain a dream.

The project is meant to augment water supply to the city. The revised estimate for the project is Rs. 75 crore. But the Corporation at present has made provisions for only Rs. 43 crore. None of the officials appear to know from where the additional funds would come.

Though the Corporation’s Council has approved the revised estimate, the State government has not yet given the go-ahead, according to sources in the Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board (KUWSDB), the agency tasked with the building of the dam.

Thus, there is not enough money to meet the revised cost, said sources in the corporation and the board.

Sources said that the cost of the project, which was to be shared by the Corporation, State Finance Commission and the Urban Development Department, have together made provision for Rs. 43 crore. While the Corporation has given its share, the urban development department has not. The State Finance Commission has released only a part. Thus the amount released so far to the board is Rs. 19.75 crore. On its part, the board has withheld Rs. 50 lakh to the contractor for sluggish pace of work.

Justifying the increase in the cost of the project due to revising the height and depth of the dam, the board said installation of electrically operated mechanical gates (Rs. 16.91 crore), use of quality grade concrete and the higher premium (Rs. 14.05 crore) cable railing and lighting facilities (Rs. 73.50 lakh) and civil and mechanical works (Rs. 1.92 crore) have also resulted in escalation of the cost.

According to sources in the board, the construction work, which began in 2010, should have been completed by March, 2011. As its plan was revised the contractor was given a two-year extension, which ended in May, 2013.

Now the board has extended the deadline by one more year and the contactor has been told to complete the work by May, 2014.

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