Bids yet to be finalised, but CM Bommai set to inaugurate key project
Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai is expected to lay the foundation stone for a lift irrigation project in Athani taluk of Belagavi on Tuesday, officials close to developments said on Monday.
The Karnataka Neerawari Nigam Ltd (KNNL) served a short-term tender notification on March 18, inviting online applications from the registered first-class Karnataka Public Works Department (KPWD) contractors to undertake the Ammajeshwari lift irrigation project at the Krishna river in Junjarwad village in Athani taluk. The estimated cost of the project is ₹744 crores.
KNNL officials said March 24 is the last date to submit the application, and the authority held a pre-bid meeting with the applicants. On the same date, it collected e-tendering documents from the bidders.
The KNNL will open the technical bids on March 28 and open the final bid on March 29. The successful bidder’s documents would be verified on the same date, officials said.
The successful bidder should complete the project within 24 months from the date of issuing the work order. Ten villages adjoining Junjarwad would be irrigated once the project is completed, officials added.
Officials further said that CM Bommai would declare the commencement of the project at a programme organised at Gokak town on Tuesday afternoon.
The scheduled event was shifted to Jarkiholis’ home town Gokak where the chief minister will declare open the Ammajeshwari project by pressing a button.
Earlier, he was scheduled to conduct ‘Bhoomi pooja’ at Junjarwad village Athani taluk, which was cancelled in the last hours after a tussle between Gokak MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi and local BJP leader Laxman Savadi.
Athani is the home town of Savadi where he has planned to hold a grand programme to inaugurate the project.
S B Bagi, chief engineer, KNNL, Athani, refused to comment on the short period of tender procurement.
KNNL gave just a week to submit the application to the contractors, and the entire tender process of the ₹
“Inviting e-tender notices will not come under my jurisdiction. The Managing Director of KNNL, who is at Bengaluru will look after it,” he told HT, adding the office at Athani would only supervise the project and report to the higher-ups.
Bagi said that the successful bidder has to conduct a survey, investigate, design, install, test, supply and commission the project.
The Opposition Congress and Aam Adami Party (AAP) have questioned the lack of days to submit the application. It also opposed the urgency behind laying the foundation stone for the project, of which the tender procurement was yet under process.
“Since the assembly elections to the state could be announced any moment, and no new projects can be undertaken once the Election Code of Conduct is in force, the chief minister is hurrying to inaugurate projects as he has no guarantee of retaining power,” one of the Opposition leaders said.
AAP office bearer Sampatkumar Shetty, who is expected to contest from the Athani constituency, told HT that chief minister Bommai handled the irrigation department and knows the tender norms and procedures.
“It’s unfortunate that he is crossing the law by inaugurating the project in which tender procurement was underway. I will drag the matter to court if the Election Commission did not act immediately and stop the scheduled programme,” he said.
Congress office bearer Sunil Sank described reducing the term of the tender process as illegal, which “was never held earlier”.
“No other governments misutilised the power like the present BJP government. It is breaking all the tender norms and administrative laws for its gain. It’s shameful. BJP wanted to inaugurate as many projects as before the announcement of the election,” he said.
Any quotes from BJP on the matter if possible