VIJAYAWADA: The water resources and irrigation department has procured Chinese pumpsets in a hurry to complete the Pattiseema project, a river interlinking project that will connect Godavari and Krishna rivers. It has also paid Rs 32 crore towards excise duty and Rs 14 crore towards labour cess to the contractor, not justifying the technicalities. The irrigation department has spent 21.99 per cent excess than the orginal expenditure of Rs 1,170 crore.
The department justified the excess payment by pointing out the urgency to provide water to Krishna delta. Officials said that they were forced to include excess machinery and payments were made accordingly.
Even an independent expert study had stated that Rs 1,170 crore expenditure itself was over and above the allowed Rs 250 crore. Irrigation officials said that in view of the urgency, they had relaxed the tender norms.
The CAG had already mentioned that Rs 199 crore excess payment was made to the contractor and however, irrigation department officials justified their stand before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Committee by reiterating that their urgency was only because they wanted to complete the project within an year. Engineer-in-Chief Venkateswara Rao and Chief Engineer Ramesh had no answer when asked as to why they didn't recognise the urgency in providing water to Rayalaseema farming community.