‘Sewage diversion work halted due to poor contract management’

Contracting agency as well as HMWSSB paid no heed to the geophysical features of the terrain: CAG

Poor contract management by the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply & Sewerage Board led to delays and gaps in the construction of sewage pipeline as part of the project for diversion of sewage from Musi River, the report by the Comptroller & Auditor General for the year ending March 2018 said.

A duplicate main for conveying 90 million litres of sewage per day through trenchless technology remained futile after completion of almost 90 per cent work, because the contracting agency as well as HMWS&SB paid no heed to the geophysical features of the terrain.

As per the government order, technical sanction was given for ₹75.41 crore, for laying of the pipeline via Kacheguda, Vittalwadi, and Basheerbagh for a distance of five kilometres. Work was entrusted in 2008 under Engineering, Procurement and Construction system, to be completed by August, 2010. The work included manning, operation and maintenance of sewer main for a period of 24 months, till August, 2012. However, the agency could not complete the work despite periodical extensions up to August, 2016. No liquidation damages were imposed for delay in completion of the work, the report noted.

Ten years after 2008, the contractor could complete 4.3 kilometres out of five kilometres, that too with gaps in the entire stretch along the pipeline. Work was held up at four locations reportedly due to presence of hard dense rock/granite and large boulders. When the water board commissioned the services of the Geological Survey of India for investigation of soil strata at locations where work was held up, it was revealed that the strength of rock was much higher than the capacity of the cutters employed by the agency.

The CAG report noted that water board was aware of the rocky terrain which would involve trench excavation at a depth of more than four metres. While the contractor had not conducted proper site investigation prior to execution of the work, and had not employed proper equipment, which was in violation of the agreement, the Board too had not ensured that the contractor fulfilled the conditions thereof, the report noted.

Realising that the trenchless technology had failed, the balance work was proposed to be executed in an open cut method. The Board issued notice to the agency for non-completion of work, and the provision to get the balance work executed at the risk and cost of the agency was invoked. Though the balance portion was removed from the contractor’s scope of work, and re-tendered twice, it has not yielded any response, rendering the entire work completed useless.

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