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Congress backs bids on irrigation projects

By Our Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD, JULY 23. Six Congress MLAs have described the Telugu Desam Party's criticism of the pre-qualification bids called by the Government for irrigation projects as an "attempt to stall the projects."

Speaking to presspersons here today, the Government Chief Whip, N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, and the MLAs said these bids were aimed at finding out how contractors were interested in executing the work and whether they were eligible. The actual tenders would be called later. They said the packages for the pre-qualification bids ranged around Rs. 150 crores. Moreover, three companies could bid together for each package.

In contrast, the TDP had offered a single package for a whopping Rs. 850 crores for the Devadula lift irrigation project. Only two companies -- Hindustan Construction and L&T -- could bid for such a bid for such a project and the contract was finally awarded at an enhanced cost of Rs. 930 crores.Mr. Kiran Kumar Reddy said that in calling bids for big packages, the Government's motive was to ensure proper quality and timely execution of work. He pointed out that the current year's irrigation budget was Rs. 4,200 crores, an amount that had to be spent in the remaining eight months of the current fiscal.

`No irregularities'

Dismissing charges of irregularities, he recalled that an agricultural research project costing Rs. 12 crores was awarded by the previous TDP Government to a company whose share capital was a paltry sum of Rs. 200. It went to the extent of finalising contracts to the tune of Rs. 300 crores for the Jurala hydro-electric project on April 28 when the elections to the State Assembly had concluded.

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