WB-funded water resources projects slow in Odisha

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WB-funded water resources projects slow in Odisha

Friday, 27 December 2019 | PNS | BHUBANESWAR

With the World Bank expressing concern over poor spending in the water resources projects, the State Government has been asked to formulate a financial action plan so that Odisha will not face an extra burden over loan amount in future.

The Ministry of Water Resources has brought to the notice of the State Government that spending in World Bank funded projects is slow and in future it will invite unwarranted commitment charges on the parked loan amount of Odisha.

Union Water Resources Secretary Upendra Prasad Singh has advised that World Bank funded projects are needed to be completed in a time -bound manner.

Singh, who was earlier one of the longest serving Principal Secretaries of the Department of Water Resources in Odisha, has given timely advice to the State Government to work out financial action plan with regard to World Bank projects.

Spending in the construction of additional spillway of Hirakud Dam is poor as out of the cost of the project worth Rs 638 crore, only Rs 49 crore has been spent over a period of more than one year, which is adversely impacting overall financial progress of the World Bank funded project.

The Union Secretary has forewarned that any unspent amount is likely to invite unwarranted commitment charges on parked loan amount for Odisha.

Similarly, the Odisha Water Resources Development’s (OWRD) project budget outlay is Rs 751 crore and cumulative spending stands at Rs 231 crore.

The Union Secretary has suggested that the OWRD project authorities are needed to work out the financial action plan up to June, 2020 and provide the Central Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR) firm expenditure figure that is expected to be incurred upto the scheduled closure as well as amount to be surrendered so that the MoWR will take up the matter with the Department of Economic Affairs and World Bank.

The World Bank Mission recently visited the State and reviewed the progress of the projects and had advised the State to speed up progress of the project work.

Additional spillway of Hirakud dam is very much necessary for the future of the massive dam and it was pointed out that both construction and financial progress was slow.

Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R&R) work is going slow and hindrance free construction work has not been possible, pointed out an expert so far as the construction of additional spillway of Hirakud is concerned.

Similarly, absence of a project management consultant for OWRD projects is posing problem and it is needed to be sorted out as soon as possible to scale up progress of the projects, said a senior official.

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