The Hope/Dochfour project is being done in a transparent manner
Mr. Charles Sohan does it again in his letter titled. “There is no transparency on Hope Canal project” (Kaieteur News Wednesday November 3, 2010).
His string of nuisances continues on a path to malign the much needed East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC) northern relief channel at Hope/Dochfour.
While the Ministry of Agriculture’s National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) is desirous of persons making constructive comments, it is also wary of persons who continuously paint a negative picture of its investments.
With regard to transparency and this project, there was public tendering for the design of this project and then in December 2009, members of the public were invited to make comments and review the proposed design for the relief channel, while expert advice was being sought.
Various consultations and public meetings were also held with residents from the Hope/Dochfour area, which resulted in compensation packages being given to those affected.
The NDIA wishes to inform Mr. Sohan that through the competitive bidding procedure, proposals were received for the provision of supervision services for the construction of the canal.
Technical and financial proposals were solicited from suitably qualified and experienced consultants to provide consultancy supervision services for the canal’s construction and related drainage and irrigation channel.
In another advertisement, the NDIA invited bids for three projects, the first being for the operation, servicing and monitoring of NDIA excavators for the construction of the EDWC northern relief channel at Hope/Dochfour, and the second for the supply of the timber mats for the construction of the EDWC and associated drainage and irrigation canals.
The third project is for the supply of geotextile material for the construction of the EDWC and the associated drainage.
Mr. Sohan also questions the capability of the NDIA to execute the earthen works component of this project when on various other projects under the Agriculture Support Services Programme (ASSP) the NDIA has successfully completed 60% of earthen works using its own equipment at a far cheaper cost than if it was undertaken by private contractors.
With $450 million saved from doing works in the four agricultural areas under the ASSP, isn’t this saving taxpayers tons of money?
In addition, just recently, with ongoing dredging of the Region Two outfalls being undertaken by NDIA’s equipment, Government is estimated to save in excess of $105 million. In Mahaicony on the right bank, $20 million was saved when the NDIA dug a four-mile long canal.
Rehabilitation of drainage and irrigation channels was also undertaken by NDIA in Mahaica, Mahaicony, Mocha, Black Bush Polder, Crabwood Creek and Canals Polder.
Presently, the Authority has increased its fleet of equipment three-fold to undertake a larger work load and make necessary and timely interventions. Also, with the new equipment acquired, costs for hiring private contractors have been cut by 60 – 80%. Isn’t this evidence of the cost saving mechanisms put in place by the NDIA?
The Ministry of Agriculture’s NDIA has also been carrying out a number of projects to increase the drainage capacity of the EDWC and improve the integrity of the EDWC.
These works include the buttressing of embankments, the widening of channels, the rehabilitation of outlet channels and the opening of additional outlets to mitigate the effects of heavy rainfall as a direct consequence of climate change.
The Authority wishes to note that every aspect of the construction of the EDWC Northern Relief channel at Hope/Dochfour is being done in a transparent manner far, from the negative picture that is being painted by Mr. Charles Sohan. However, this is not surprising taking the history of his writings into consideration.
Corporate Secretary, NDIA