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Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: HES Infrastructure Private Limited, which was awarded the construction work of a three-lane bridge over Kathajodi river, has submitted a bill of Rs 10 crore on account of estimation cost for change in design to the State government.

Though the Hyderabad-based company in its agreement with the Odisha government stated that it would not charge anything for a change in design of the bridge, the Rs 10 crore bill has raised eyebrows among many.

Besides, HES Infrastructure has given another bill of Rs 9 crore on the head of price escalation.

Sources said the company in the name of changing the design of the bridge has taken one year more to complete the work. When beams have been placed on 25 spans, 35 spans are left without much work. Questions are being asked how the company will complete the bridge work in rest 11 months.

Notably, the target for completion of the bridge construction work was 2014.

As per the government reports, the company has completed 28% of the work in 25 months, whereas work of Rs 62 crore is yet to be done. The company should have paid Rs 12 crore penalty due to delay in the work, instead it has sent bills of Rs 19 crore to the State government. The company was earlier served a show cause notice for delay in the construction work.

Former Chief Engineer Lalitmohan Patnaik said, “Why they (the company) changed the design into precast, they can only tell. It is people who are suffering due to the delay. While the original cost was Rs 95 crore, it has increased to Rs 108 crore. They should cite the reasons for that.”

Refuting allegations of any irregularities, Works Secretary Nalinikant Pradhan said, “For a three-lane bridge, the foundations will deviate and payment has been made to the company as per the rules. They have not taken anything extra.”

He further stated, “If anyone has made any irregularities, that should be probed.”

Chief minister Naveen Patnaik had laid the foundation of the proposed 2.8-km-long-bridge in February 2011 to connect Cuttack's CDA Chhak with Trisulia.

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