In JK,fortune favors HCC

Company Seeks Rs 21 Crore For Clearing Landslides On Mughal Road, Govt ‘Considering’ Warmly

UMER MAQBOOL

Srinagar, May 28: Emboldened by the J&K government’s “warm attitude” towards its “unfair” demands, the Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) has now sought extra money to the tune of Rs 21 crores from the government for clearing landslides on Mughal Road that connects Kashmir with Pir Panchal region in Jammu.
 The HCC, which is the executing agency for Mughal Road construction, has recently written a letter to the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah seeking remittance of Rs 21 crores for removing landslides on the 84-kilometer under-construction stretch.   The letter has been written by the Chairman and Managing Director of HCC Ajit Gulabchand.
 The demand vide letter dated January 14, 2013 comes even as the agreement signed between the state government and HCC makes it explicitly clear that “nothing shall be paid to contractor for maintenance of the road during execution.” Last year, this newspaper had reported that the state government has paved way to fill the HCC coffers by recommending payment of extra money in their favour for the task. The latest move by the HCC corroborates the story.
 In another communication dated September 13, 2012 to the Chief Minister, the HCC has banked on recommendation of a panel constituted by the state government to demand “surplus” money.
 “In this matter, the J&K Government had also constituted a redress committee which after several deliberations had recommended the payment to HCC for clearance of slips and slides (Sic). The quantum of slips and slides removed had been verified till 31.10.2011,” the communiqué reads.
 The panel, which was constituted by the Roads and Buildings Department  to look into HCC demands vide Order No 248PW(R& B) of 2010 dated 15 July 2010, comprised of  then Joint Development Commissioner Works, Chief Engineer Mughal Road Project, Superintending Engineer (Anantnag-Pulwama), Superintending Engineer (Poonch-Rajouri) and Superintending Engineer Mughal Road Project.
 The HCC communiqué  further read: “HCC had cleared the huge quantity of slips and slides to the tune of Rs 14.46 lakh to facilitate smooth traffic movement from Bafliaz and Shopian (till 31.07.2012) for which we were due to be paid Rs 21.06 crore. The HCC had cleared the slips and slides as per directions of the department and with bona-fide belief that we would be paid for the same.”
 When contacted, Minister for Roads & Buildings, Abdul Majid Wani said that they are looking into the claim made by the HCC.
 “Their demand is under consideration and before taking any decision on the matter, we will see whether it is in consonance with the agreement signed with us or not,” he said.
 The Mughal Road construction was taken up under the Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Plan (PMRP) in February 2006, with its revised completion cost presently standing at Rs 539 crore. Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, who was CM then, laid the foundation stone for commencing the work at Bufliaz and Hirpur on October 1, 2005.
 Earlier, the decision for construction of the Mughal Road was taken in 1978 by then Chief Minister Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah to connect Kashmir with Pir Panchal region.

Lastupdate on : Tue, 28 May 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 28 May 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 29 May 2013 00:00:00 IST




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