Govt was caught napping on all three---sadak, bijli, paani
NHAI was sleeping, we were called on Jan 7th: CE Beacon
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR, Jan 11: Top ranking officials of Border Roads Organization (BRO) and National Hydroelectric Power Corporation of India (NHPC) today revealed that authorities were caught napping when the season’s first snowfall in Kashmir valley plains sent life out of gear last week.
Chief Engineer of BRO’s Projection Beacon in Jammu & Kashmir, Brig TPS Rawat revealed to Early Times that under orders from Government of India and Government of Jammu & Kashmir, his organisation was supposed to completely hand over 294-km long Srinagar-Jammu national highway to National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) by March 2011. In the year 2010, Government of India had approved the ambitious Rs 10,000 Cr project of four-laning of the highway and the work was assigned to NHAI.
“We were ready from day one to hand over the highway to NHAI. But even after floating tenders for six major patches, including two major tunnels, they had certain difficulties in taking over the highway. As they had allotted works for execution, we made it clear to them that we could not continue maintenance works beyond March 2011 as two different organizations could not simultaneously work on the same highway”, Brig Rawat said. He disclosed that due to such difficulties, NHAI was ready to take over only 100 Km distance in the year 2011.
“Earlier last year, they took over 59 Km from
to Udhampur and also 40 Km from Chinani to Batote. Chinani-Batote patch on either side of Patni Top was handed over to NHAI as they were going to start execution of a major tunnel”, Brig Rawat said. He revealed that until January 6th, when the heavy snowfall happened at Patni Top, NHAI had no preparedness to keep the highway through. Jammu
“NHAI as well as J&K Chief Minister’s office and Deputy Commissioner of Ramban approached us in the morning on January 7th and requested us to carry out snow clearance on Chinani-Batote patch. We made it clear to them that we could not do it in absence of a written requisition as we were supposed to charge the bill from the client, NHAI. The requisitions from NHAI came to us by fax at 1300 hours on January 7th. By that time, we had mobilized our men and machinery. Thereafter, it took us around 40 hours, to make the highway through. It remained blocked for 50 hours, from 1800 hours on January 6th to 2000 hours on January 8th”, Brig Rawat said. He said that on January 8th in the evening, he came all the way from Doda to Batote and the first caravan of 80 vehicles crossed the troubled patch from Ramban to
at 2000 hours. Jammu
Brig Rawat said that Project Beacon would completely hand over the highway to NHAI by May 2012. He made it clear that thereafter the four-laning of the highway, as well as its maintenance, would be fully the responsibility of the NHAI. According to him, Project Beacon had maintained the highway with its own engineers and staff while as NHAI would possibly outsource the maintenance to private contractors.
Meanwhile, highly placed sources in NHPC revealed to this newspaper that even in the field of power transmission, Government of Jammu & Kashmir had no infrastructure to directly utilize the power generated at 480 mw Uri plant as it had no carrier. “They have been boasting of the competence and hard work of their bureaucrats and engineers and granting them extensions in service after retirement without asking them why a transmission line had not been laid for directly receiving power from Uri in such crises”, a senior NHPC official said. He made a significant disclosure that Chief Minister’s Principal Secretary, Bharat Bhushan Vyas, and incumbent Principal Secretary Power, Sudhanshu Pandey, learned it only on their recent visit to Uri that the state government had never laid a transmission line, capable of taking power directly from NHPC’s Uri plant, in the last several decades.
The NHPC officials, wishing anonymity, revealed that till date power from Uri plant was flowing directly to the northern grid through a 400 kv transmission line of Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCI) and the same was returning to the Valley through another transmission line. “They are holding us guilty of everything and creating an impression that NHPC was averse to supplying power to them directly. We are, in fact, ready for it. Sometimes we have to simply shut our systems as the state government’s PDD has not created any infrastructure of taking it directly from us in such crises when the PGCI link between Uri and Jammu develops a fault”, said an official.
“We told Messers Vyas and Pandey that we were ready to supply power directly from Uri. They returned after learning, rather surprisingly, that their PDD had never created a carrier for it”, he added.