WR Dept key posts held by in-charges

IMPHAL, 15th Sep: Uncertainty looms large over the fate of important projects being taken up by state’s Water Resources Department as top posts of the department are currently held by in-charges.
As per a reliable source, several assistant engineers who are yet to be promoted as they do not fulfil the required RRs have been handed the top posts of the department thereby rendering the department headless/unowned.
The source also said that a person who does not fulfil criteria to be chief engineer as per the existing RRs has been made in-charge chief engineer of the department while several AEs have been made EE, SE and additional chief engineers in-charges and handed key posts though they are yet to fulfil promotion criteria. Currently, five persons who do not fulfil promotion criteria are holding SE charges while 26 SEs who are yet to fulfil promotion criteria are holding EE in-charges. Apart from this, 20 section officers are holding AE in-charges though they are yet to fulfil promotion criteria.
When some media persons visited department’s office at Khoyathong to enquire about steps initiated by the department to mitigate suffering of farmers in view of rain deficit in the state, no top officials of the department could be met.
Dolaithabi project is one among 99 projects of the country prioritised by the Union government and the project is targeted to be completed by March, 2020 with the keen initiative of Central water resources department. In case the project could not be completed within the target set, Central government would convert the grant component into interest bearing loan. The estimated cost of Thoubal project of Thoubal multipurpose project is Rs 1998.99 crore with 90 percent grant from the Centre. If this 90 percent grant happens to be converted into interest bearing loan, state’s financial situation would worsen further.
According to the source, state Water Resources Department is still unable to procure fund for development of four water bodies. Last year, the department sent a proposal to Central government for development of river banks and even submitted a DPR seeking a huge fund. Even though the Central government called for a fresh DPR, the department is still unable to send the same till date. Apart from this, the department could not finalise relevant documents for construction of Thoubal project canal. In view of the current tardy progress, there is no sign of the project possibily being completed by March, 2020.
On the other hand, there is doubt over the possibility of receiving fund from World Bank for Singda, Imphal barrage, Sekmai barrage and Khuga development projects as proper explanation could not be made when technical officials of the bank visited the state sometimes back. Water resources being a key department for enhancing economy of the state by improving farmers’ condition, fit and experienced officers need to be deputed and special attention of the government is required in this regard, the source suggested.

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