CPWD to announce new formula for project cost escalation

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Kochi, July 17 (UNI) In view of the ''abnormal rise'' in the cost of construction materials, the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) will shortly announce a new formula for cost escalation of ongoing projects, CPWD Director General H S Dogra said today.

Talking to mediapersons here, he said the CPWD had a cost escalation clause linked to the Wholesale Price Index (WPI), which would take care of cost escalation in the normal course.

However, in view of the ''abnormal rise'' in the cost of materials such as cement and steel, the CPWD had been working on a new formula for the past three months.

Certain objections raised by the Union Finance Ministry have been resolved and the new formula was likely to be announced in 15 to 20 days, he said.

Mr Dogra said in the light of the increase in the CPWD's workload in Kerala, the department had proposed to the Union Urban Development Ministry to create a new zone exclusively for the State.

The Ministry was processing the matter and the new zone, covering Kerala and Lakshadweep, was likely to be set up in this or the next financial year.

At present, the South Zone, with an annual budget of about Rs 250 crore, covered Kerala and Karnataka. The allocation for Kerala was about Rs 150 crore. With the creation of the new zone, the budget for the State would be hiked to about Rs 200 crore. The workforce in the State, which was about 200 at present, might also be doubled, South Zone Chief Engineer S Chinnaswamy said.

Talking about the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, Mr Dogra said the CPWD was upgrading five major stadia, which would serve as the main venues for the games, at a total project cost of Rs 1,600 crore.

The CPWD's target was to finish the work by December, 2009 or latest by March, 2010. The department was serving as a consultant engineer to the Sports Authority of India. The five stadia being upgraded by it were the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Talkatora Indoor Stadium, Karni Singh Shooting Range, Dhyanchand and the Indira Gandhi Stadia.

Mr Dogra said the CPWD, which had an annual budget of Rs 6,000 crore, had also taken up construction of about 10,000 houses for tribals in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands under the Tsunami Relief Project.

In Kerala, the CPWD had been involved in the construction of major university campuses and the terminals for the Inland Waterway III. Among its new projects in the State was the expansion of IIM, Kozhikode.

Later, Mr Dogra, accompanied by his wife Veena Dogra, the President of the CPWD Officers Wives' Association (COWA), visited the house of Mrs Rachael Muthachen, the Founder-President of COWA, and felicitated her.

UNI ARC GD MIR ND1610

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