Experts find lacunae in machinery for Jhelum dredging

They cautioned about 2014 like disaster in making in case immediate measures are not taken to correct the messy dredging with suitable and effective equipments.

MUDASIR YAQOOB
Srinagar, Publish Date: May 20 2017 1:12AM | Updated Date: May 20 2017 1:12AM
Experts find lacunae in machinery for Jhelum dredgingFile Photo

Experts Friday pointed put various lacunae in the tender allocated to a Kolkata-based firm for dredging of river Jhelum and machinery pressed for execution of the project.

They cautioned about 2014 like disaster in making in case immediate measures are not taken to correct the messy dredging with suitable and effective equipments.

They said that September 2014 floods have proven beyond doubt the callous attitude of authorities in understanding the problems prior to augmenting solutions.

“One apprehends a major flood in the near future if corrective actions are not initiated on a war footing. Silt deposition can be seen all along the path from Khanabal, Sangam to Srinagar and in the event of an angry Jhelum, Pampore area and most of Srinagar’s areas are under immense threat as silt will be easily transported along the river bed slope due to high water velocity. The change in the water color denotes the excessive silt observed with expansion in the river width which rings alarming bells,” they cautioned.

They said that tender for dredging Jhelum allocated to Kolkata based firm have many lacunae. “I am amused to read the tender documents; Tender notice no. 17 of 2015-16 where to my knowledge several techno commercial errors have been committed at the tender stage,” said Munir Ahmad Mufti, a Kashmiri Mechanical Engineer presently working in Middle East with an international organization.

He said that the Trailer Suction Dredger (TSHD) which is presently pressed near Zero-Bridge can carry only fine silt or gravel “but surely cannot handle the slurry silt due to high viscosity unless added with sand.”

He said that he disagrees with the arguments or excuses by some authorities or executives that dredging is an uphill task to get the project executed on war footing keeping various negative factors including unpredictable weather conditions, governmental bottlenecks, level of expertise in managing and supervising such critical projects, availability of competent manpower, equipment resource and above all a positive cash flow in view.

“A comprehensive plan for segment dredging needs to be prioritized in order to ensure the right combination of marine equipment at the right location as the present operating dredgers are below capacity and exhibit low efficiency as has been proved by their poor performance over the years of operation. The dredger capacities shall further reduce due to presence of gravel, rocks, boulders in the silt and above all inexperienced operations staff which reduces the output,” he said.

“The tender requirements didn’t mention any technical submittal along with the commercial based on which the bidder would have been approved. It more or less shows that authorities are unaware of the procedures in dredging which require submittal of a detailed method statement, equipment list and qualified manpower to ensure the contractor is not experimenting while people suffer,” he said.

He said that authorities have still not woken up and are probably not aware of equipments and their capacities.

“Authorities still believe dredging about 150 cum/day would be a great challenge. Discharge distance of over 300 and 3000 and its implications on discharge output does not mean much of a difference to the authorities and the technical consultant appointed for the project, which proves beyond doubt they are all first timers and in experiment mode,” he said.

Referring to page 61 of the tender document, he said: “It amuses me to see the document precedence which is neither as per International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC) Green or Red book. I can assure the government and general masses that the contractor will have his say in the project and we will again have a blame game in place.”