Back to the drawing board for anti-flood project

  • Metro News
  • Saturday, 04 Apr 2020

Zairil (in blue) and Chong Eng (in green) checking out the site for the Permatang Rawa project before the Covid-19 pandemic was declared. — Photo: LIM BENG TATT/The Star

PENANG has been forced to redesign the Permatang Rawa Flood Mitigation Project -- one of the moves designed after the Nov 2017 floods -- following difficulties in acquiring land.

Penang flood mitigation committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari said the RM29mil project was supposed to cover an area of 4.2km involving 74 lots, comprising 53 upstream and 21 downstream from Sungai Permatang Rawa.

“There are multiple owners per lot and acquiring the lots would have involved contacting a huge number of people and hearing their concerns.

“If they challenge the issue in court, it will take even more time, ” he said.

He said that out of the contract cost of about RM29mil, RM4.6mil was already paid to the previous contractor for work done.

“We have negotiated with the contractor and agreed to a mutual termination of the contract without any extra losses or expenses claimed, ” he said.

Zairil said the project would now be broken down into smaller parts.

“We will call separate tenders for the different portions without affecting the final contract sum of RM29mil.

“We will change the design to reduce the number of lots that we have to acquire.

“With the new design, the 53 lots which were needed in the first phase will be reduced to five to six lots.

“Instead of acquiring the land to upgrade the river, we will do underground retention by building an underground cavern which can store a lot of water.”

Zairil was speaking to reporters during his visit to the mitigation project site near Bukit Mertajam in the middle of last month.

Also present was exco member Chong Eng, who is also Padang Lalang assemblyman.

Zairil also said the RM17mil flood mitigation project at Parit 4 in Bukit Tengah was already almost 80% completed.

“The project commenced in March 2018 as part of a high- impact project announced by then chief minister Lim Guan Eng after the 2017 floods.

“Our plan is to finish the work at least by September before the rain season starts.

“The pumphouse will have a big capacity of 13.2 cubic metres per second. It will use three screw pumps from Holland, which will be the largest screw pumps in Penang, ” he said.

Zairil added that the pumphouse would be built near Kolam Teratai beside Jalan Tembikai to channel floodwaters in Sungai Juru.

This is a low-lying and densely populated area that is frequently flooded.

“We are going to do major upgrading work.

“A consultant is working on the final stages of the design which will be completed in one to two months.

‘We will call for the tender by August and expect to see the project completed in two years.”

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