Hours after a BJP lawmaker alleged irregularities in the Rs 21,473.67 crore Upper Bhadra River project, the Karnataka government on Friday issued a detailed rebuttal, saying no norms had been flouted for inviting tenders to execute the project.
In a statement, state-run Vishweshwaraya Jala Nigam Ltd (VJNL), a special purpose vehicle formed by the state government to execute key multi-crore projects like Upper Bhadra and Yettinahole projects, termed the allegations false.
“The VJNL has complied with all norms before inviting tenders in seven packages, each estimated around Rs 4,026.60 crore,” its Managing Director Lakshman Rao Peshwe said, adding that the tender process was not completed yet, and still continuing.
Denying that shortage of funds to execute this project was also leading to kickbacks, Peshwe said that as the Upper Bhadra project was a national project, there would be no shortage of funds to execute and complete it.
“As this project is a part of national irrigation scheme, tender process of this project is carried out as per the Union government’s guidelines and instructions issued on March 25, 2021 to split the entire package into seven packages, each valued Rs 4,026.60 crore, as this project needed to be completed before 2023-24,” he said.
He said that the entire project was cleared after obtaining necessary conditional approvals by the Union government’s investments clearance board on March 25 this year.
The statement also said that the VJNL had already obtained the administrative approval from the state Finance Department on December 12, 2020, while the Central Water Resource Ministry’s technical advisory committee has given approval for estimated works worth Rs 16,125.48 crore on December 24, 2020.
BJP legislative councillor A.H. Vishwanath on Friday alleged that Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa’s son and party state Vice President B.Y. Vijayendra was not only interfering in administration but also had taken a kickback in the Upper Bhadra irrigation project contract.