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The Minister of Agriculture yesterday glossed over criticisms of the construction cost of the Stanleytown, West Bank Demerara pump. He suggested that he was not too bothered about the actual cost it took to build the pump, but rather, that he was looking for value for money in the benefits that will flow after.In the first defence of the cost involved in the construction of a pump station at Stanleytown,Wholesale Soccer Jerseys, which residents have deemed laughable, Minister Robert Persaud yesterday said “value for money is determined over a period of time.”The West Bank Demerara pump station was formally commissioned on July 3, and according to the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) it was constructed at a cost of $78.2 million.The Minister, when asked why the Ministry did not respond to this newspaper’s request for the specific locations of some contracts being undertaken by the Ministry, said that the information was available.He promised to take reporters next week Friday (August 14) on a tour of all of the sites in an effort to ensure that there is no doubt about transparency.When Kaieteur News first carried the criticism of some residents, Omadatt Chandan, the Corporate Secretary of the NDIA lashed out at this newspaper, calling its report biased and prejudicial and an attempt to discredit the work of NDIA.However, Chandan failed to say whether the NDIA felt it received value for money on this particular project, and chose instead to state the scope of work involved in the project. Questioned yesterday, the Minister of Agriculture said “just building the pump station or building any infrastructure is not the only way to determine whether you have value for money but whether it is able to provide the service in a consistent and reliable way further confirms whether or not you get value for money in the investment made.”“How much the pump station in the coming years affects increased production and productivity, and bring(s) relief to the farmers will be the final judge of whether or not you got value for money,” added Persaud.He said that there is no information that suggests that the government was ripped-off on this project. Persaud said that he would not tolerate collusion between his staffers and contractors, and if evidence of this were found then, the result would be immediately dismissal and those involved would be handed over to the Police.The Stanleytown Pump Station was established in the 1980s and had become dysfunctional. It was rebuilt with support funding from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Persaud said the new pump station was built despite the fact it cannot function at full capacity. Chandan had explained that the pump, because of its vast potential, cannot be opened continuously as the intake channel needs excavation but squatters who are living on the feeder canal are posing a problem in effectively excavating this channel.According to Persaud, the decision was made to proceed with the pump station while working on a relocation process for the squatters.Persaud said that the squatters would be removed “soon” and then “you will see the true performance of that pump.”“Value for money is one in which overtime we will able to judge and assess,” he reiterated.According to the NDIA, the scope of works included the installation of two new trash racks, new 95 HP right angle gear drive, new 450 HP diesel engine, new 150 cu. sec lineshaft pump, construction of new pump house, extraction of hydroflow pump end and installation of new oil cooler, construction of perimeter fence, installation of new 42-inch diameter pipe works, rebuilding and installation of hydroflow discharge pipe works.
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