– Jagdeo tells gov’t supervisors on US$15.4M Amaila Falls road project
With the Amaila Falls road contractor Synergy Holdings way behind schedule, the government is not yet ready to pull the contract. But President Bharrat Jagdeo has said that the contractor will not be allowed to do shoddy work.
The government is not yet ready to say that it made a bad decision in choosing Synergy Holdings to pave the road to Amaila Falls, where a hydropower project that could cost almost $700 million is slated to be constructed.
“We may have some slippage,” is all Jagdeo said yesterday when asked if the government was ready to take away the contract from Synergy Holdings.
“I’ve made it clear to the people who are supervising this that they have to ride the company hard and they have to ensure that the quality is not compromised,” Jagdeo said at a press conference at the Presidential Secretariat in Georgetown.
He did assign the delay on the project to Synergy Holdings and said this was compounded by heavy rains. However, Jagdeo said the delay in the road project is not likely to significantly affect financial closure for the project.
Sithe Global, the developers of the Amaila Falls Hydro Project, has told Kaieteur News that it is not pushing back the date for the start of construction for the project despite uncertainty as to when the road to the site will actually be completed.
“Our timeline for construction has not changed – we still aim to begin construction as soon as we reach financial closure, at the end of 2011,” Sithe Global told Kaieteur News.
The controversial US$15.4M contract to build access roads to Amaila Falls continues to be way behind schedule, with just about two months before the contract deadline is up. The government had defended the award of the road contract to Synergy Holdings when questions were raised about the way the contract was awarded.
There were also questions about the company’s competence to undertake the project.
Now, the government itself has admitted that Synergy Holdings is way behind schedule, and the developers are insisting they want to commence construction at year end, once financial closure is secured.
“We hope to reach financial closure by the end of 2011,” the Sithe Global spokesperson told Kaieteur News.
Synergy Holdings Inc. on October 5, last year, started the work which should have been completed within eight months. However, the work is only one-third completed, says Walter Willis, Senior Engineer of the Ministry of Public Works. Willis is supervising the works on behalf of Government.
Synergy Holdings was the original developer of the Amaila Falls Hydro Project.
However, the company realised that it could no longer execute the project and its licence was transferred to Sithe Global.
Less than six months after the licence transfer, Synergy Holdings, under Makeshwar “Fip” Motilall, secured the US$15.4 million contract from Government to build roads and bridges leading to the project site.
The government announced the award of the contract to Motilall on March 26, 2010. Synergy Holdings was given the first notice to proceed on October 5 last year for some sections of the road, while the green light for the other section through virgin rainforest was given on January 11, this year.
Those bidding for the contracts were asked to provide their experience in similar large scale projects together with references and credentials, and detail the equipment he owns and would require to carry out the project.
Synergy Holdings has come under the radar over its experience in building roads and its ability to carry out the project. The company’s contract is for the upgrade of approximately 85 kilometers of existing roadway and the design and construction of approximately 110 kilometers of new road.
The works also include building bridges across the Essequibo and Kuribrong rivers. In addition, the contract takes into account clearing the way for the installation of a 65-kilometre transmission line.
The Amaila site is located on the Kuribrong River, a tributary of the Potaro River in west central Guyana.
While Government had given the green light to Synergy Holdings Inc. on October 5, last year, to start work, the work is only one-third completed, Walter Willis, Senior Engineer of the Ministry of Public Works, told Kaieteur News recently.
Attempts by the contractor to outsource some of the works to meet a September deadline, are not finding much success.
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