It seems the Work Department’s top mandarins have not bothered to learn any lesson from the Bomikhal flyover collapse, which, besides leading to loss of life and property, escalated the project cost due to the prolonging of the construction process.
The executing agency of the flyover, Panda Infra Private Limited which was later blacklisted, was shown undue favour by the department officials and awarded many other projects despite the man-made disaster.
Now, the Dillip Khatei Constructions, which was involved in the construction the link building between the terminal-1 and II of the Biju Patnaik International Airport, which collapsed leading to the death of a person, surprisingly is being shown undue favour by the department Secretary and the Chief Engineers and awarded a slew of projects.
This has raised many eyebrows because a high-level inquiry committee report blamed Dillip Khatei Constructions and questioned its expertise in undertaking such a prestigious project. The committee also accused the overconfident firm of ignoring the engineers’ recommendation and poor construction work violating the norms.
Earlier, the firm was shunted out by private organisations for shoddy and poor quality construction. But despite it dubious track record, Dillip Construction has been awarded the Habisiali Building in Puri, which is a dream project of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
All the clauses and have been changed and tendering process fixed by the department officials in awarding projects like the court building in Bhubaneswar, RTO-II in Chandrsekharpur , Brahmapur bus stand, Bhakt Niwas and scaffolding work of Puri Jagannath Temple. It is alleged that crores of rupees have been siphoned off in the process. All the projects have been inordinately delayed leading to escalation in the project cost.
The firm has also managed to bag contracts for the Puri temple beautification work which is being jointly carried out by the Puri administration, Odisha Bridge Construction Corporation, Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) and Works Department.
The intelligentsia has demanded a high-level probe into the department officials’ nexus with the construction firm, which is costing the State exchequer crores of rupees and prevent future disasters which endanger lives of people.