By Keeran Danny
Delays by Surendra Engineering in delivering all 14 drainage pumps it was contracted by Government to supply since last year are justifiable, says Dharamkumar Seeraj, Chairman of the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA).
According to Seeraj, NDIA made some changes and put stringent requirements on the company to deliver on specifications of the contract. As such, the delays by the company were warranted and therefore no additional cost would be attached to Surendra Engineering, he said.
Procurement of the pumps has been a controversial issue ever since the government handed Surendra Engineering a US$4 million contract over two years ago. The pumps were bought through a line of credit.
Tenders for the project were opened in Guyana and in India in 2011. However, the contract only became operational in March 2012 and was expected to end one year later. It did not. Instead Government granted a one-month extension. And to date, all the pumps have not reached Guyana.
According to Seeraj, all the mobile pumps, either two or three fixed pumps and engines and gear boxes for the fixed pumps are in Guyana. He is unaware as to how many mobile and fixed pumps the company was supposed to supply respectively.
He added that the remaining pumps to be delivered are somewhere between being shipped and the manufacturer.
In acknowledging that all the pumps are not in Guyana, Seeraj defended earlier statements made by Agriculture Minister Dr. Leslie Ramsammy.
Dr. Ramsammy in November 2013 said that the pumps were here. But, one day later Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Roger Luncheon refuted that, saying that some pumps were expected to arrive in Guyana in December 2013.
However, according to Seeraj, Dr. Ramsammy could have been speaking about all the fixed pumps or all the mobile pumps, and therefore was not misleading.
Chief Executive Officer of NDIA Lionel Wordsworth said that one of the pumps under the contract was operational at Rose Hall and civil works were ongoing at Canal Polder and Skeldon to facilitate the installation of pumps.
He added that the preliminary stage of civil works is ongoing at Windsor Forest, West Coast Demerara and Enterprise/Paradise drainage block on the East Coast of Demerara.
According to Seeraj, he is not privy to the exact terms and conditions of the Indian line of credit and is unaware if Government has began repaying on the loan, since NDIA is only a component of this arrangement.
“Normally the line of credit would have a grace period and then repayment on soft terms and conditions. NDIA is just a component of that line of credit. The finer details I could check, but I don’t have that answer right now,” he said.
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