Monday, January 30, 2006

BMP officials go easy on road repair projects

BMP officials go easy on road repair projects

The Hindu

Contractors firm on demand to relax some of the norms in tender specifications before taking up work

# Dharam Singh had asked officials to complete road repair by July
# Work yet to start on re-chip carpeting of 350 km of roads in city
# BMP to wait till February 3 for response to tenders

BANGALORE: The change of Government seems to have come as a blessing in disguise for the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP).

The BMP officials, who had promised to start several projects last week, are taking it easy.

Sources in the BMP said that road contractors, who are not interested in taking up roadwork after the expert committee appointed by the High Court to look into road and drain works submitted its report to the court, were firm on their demand of certain relaxations in the tender conditions. As a result, there is no improvement in the status of roadwork, the sources said.

Stimulated by the then Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh's warning on January 17 to complete roadwork by July or face the music, the BMP officials had announced that work on re-chip carpeting of 350 km of roads and the pending portion of the "Complete blacktop asphalting" project will begin by January 23. With this, the BMP hoped to meet the July 31 deadline issued by Mr. Dharam Singh during a review of city development works.

BMP Commissioner K. Jothiramalingam, who had convened an emergency meeting of officials after the review, had directed all the executive engineers in the civic body to immediately issue work orders for re-chip carpeting of 350 km of roads being taken up at a cost of over Rs. 30 crores. Although the tendering process for this project was completed last month, work has not started because the engineers were following the traditional procedure of first issuing letters of intent, work agreement and then the work order.

While the corporators from all parties pointed out that so far no roadwork have started, a top official told The Hindu on Sunday that work was started in the West Zone. "Asphalting of interior roads in the 33 wards of West Zone has been divided into 33 packages. Work on some of these packages has started," he said.

Admitting that the projects, which were slated to take off immediately, had been delayed, the official said: "Work in all the 100 wards is likely to begin by Wednesday."

Projects planned

The pending portion of the first package of "Complete blacktop asphalting" being taken up at a cost of Rs. 30 crores predominantly in Padmanabhanagar and surrounding areas was scheduled to begin by last Monday.

The first phase of the Karnataka Municipal Reforms Project (KMRP), involving upgradation of 30 km of roads in Koramangala, 80 Feet Road and surrounding roads at a cost of Rs. 38 crores was slated to start last week. "We will wait till February 3, the last date for contractors to respond to the tenders. If there is no proper response, we will decide on awarding the work to reputed firms such as Larsen and Tourbo, Gammon India, Simplex and others," the sources said.

With the BMP Council slated to meet on Tuesday, members from all parties are planning to take up the issue in a big way. "Our term will end this November and we can no longer waste time like this. If work does not start at least now, it will be difficult to ensure completion before the monsoon," Jogupalya corporator B.M. Mangala said.

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