Response to, “Flawed Cabinet decision on dam relocation helps push Punatsangchu I cost to a record Nu. 94 bn”

How the hell can the recommendation to shift the dam have been made without the full geological study? It’s not like you are moving a bulldozer from one location to another.

What were our own engineers and technical advisors doing?

This has implications on how we depend on incomplete information and the competency of WAPCOS and other high level quasi-private Indian firms presenting assessment for major decisions regarding such projects. This is not the first time. Recent rejection of EIA for other projects (hydro, airports etc) is already reported in the news.

For the dam, there was flawed geological assessment in the last minute after all the assessments were made. The presentation was made by the highest administrator of the project at that time. There was a lot of concerns from the hurried modification from not only technical but also social and environmental implications. These concerns were recorded in the consultation meetings and witnessed by the participants at that time.

The costs balloons from “variations”, incomplete estimates in planning and estimating. In the end it is the contractors making more money than their bids by saying ground conditions are different from the design and documents.

And with such huge amounts of money, this is very certainly a lot of palm greasing going on. A lot of people involved in construction, supply and management are making a lot of money at the expense of the people and nation from such variations. It goes down even to small items for supply of stationary and equipment.

At the same time we are losing the opportunity to train our own capacity to take up such works and also limiting the choice of technology by only allowing Indian companies and technology.

Whether WAPCOS and pseudo-private technical agencies from India and global/Indian companies are completely incompetent or there is deliberate hoodwinking of our government and people it’s high time we examine these projects with a microscope.

Is the financial , social and environmental costs worth it if we are proceeding in such a manner for 10,000 MW ?

By Pseudo Engineer


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