90% of Matmora dyke work completed

Ajit patowary

GUWAHATI, Aug 4 – On the whole, around 90 per cent progress has been attained so far in implementing the about Rs 140-crore Matmora protection project in Dhakuwakhana subdivision of Lakhimpur district. Implementation of the entire project is expected to be completed by mid-October next.

The project, treated as a pilot one for its being the first of its kind in the country. It has the proviso of installation of an about 5 km-long geo-tube dyke and raising and strengthening of the around 14 km-long existing earthen dyke. Besides, it proposes porcupine intervention in the upstream and downstream reaches of the geo-dyke to push the incoming channel of the Brahmaputra to the mid-stream.

Water Resources Department (WRD) sources said, by March 31 last, about 70 per cent – that is around Rs 68 crore – of the around Rs 100 crore earmarked for the geo-tube dyke part of the project, has been paid to the Malaysian company Emaskiara. The Malaysian company is implementing this part of the project. However, after that no payment has been made to the company.

The accurate total cost of the entire Matmora project is Rs 140.978 crore, and in total, around Rs 95 crore of this amount has been paid to various agencies involved in implementation of the project, said the sources.

The geo-tube dyke part of the project has the proviso of laying 1,200 geo-tubes in three layers in a pyramidal shape and then providing it with an earthen cover of about one-foot deep. This dyke is to be provided with a geo-tube apron support, in addition to the geo-synthetic mattresses, on the riverside and a grass turf on the countryside.

The total number of geo-tube apron proposed to be laid under the project is 1,563. These tubes are of two sizes –16 metres (numbering around 950, to cover a stretch of 3,060 metres) and 12 metres (numbering around 606, to cover a stretch of 1,940 metres) in length. So far 622 apron tubes have been laid. The break up of progress in this respect is – 73 per cent relating to the 12-metre-long ones and 27 per cent relating to the 16-metre-long ones, sources said.

In laying the geo-synthetic mattresses, 97.4 per cent progress has been attained and 90 per cent progress has been attained in laying the grass turf on the countryside of the geo-dyke.

It needs mention here that the Malaysian company was initially asked to complete the project within 100 days since March 27, 2009, when the project implementation commenced. But, finally, that deadline was extended up to April 30, 2010. The firm failed to complete implementation of its part of the project even by that deadline. Now the WRD is contemplating actions against the company for the delay in completing its part of the project, sources said.

Factors like resistance offered by the people left on the riverside of the dyke resenting their non-rehabilitation and almost incessant rain since March 22 were also responsible for the delay in implementing this part of the project.

But, the company cannot deny that its Malaysian employees were on leave for celebrating their New Year festival and for non-receipt of visas for 24 days in a crucial period. Moreover, the company deployed inadequate number of men and machines, said the WRD sources.

Source: The Assam Tribune