Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Endless wait for K R Market subway

Endless wait for K R Market subway
The project, started four years ago, is nowhere near completion. It's a mess at the busiest junction in the city and a risk for pedestrians & motorists alike
Manasi Paresh Kumar manasi.pk@timesgroup.com


Step aside Puttenhalli and Kadirenhalli, the two projects said to be the most delayed in Bangalore. They appear to be facing stiff competition from another project: The pedestrian subway at K R Market.
As the project turns four years old this September, the incomplete 'relic' has suddenly been thrust into the spotlight again. About a month ago, its implementation was handed over to the BBMP Major Works department. Earlier, the project was with the BBMP Projects (Central) department, which barely completed less than 30 percent of the work in four years.
With the bustling and very crowded K R market bus stand on one side of the incomplete subway and the busy traffic from Old Fort Road on the other side, it is a common sight to see pedestrians fighting for right of way. Add to this, the heavy influx of traffic going towards the Central Business District through SJP Road. Besides, thousands of people throng this transit point for retail purposes.
So a pedestrian subway to ensure the safety of the huge number of pedestrians was a must. The BBMP came up with a plan to build a 123-meter pedestrian subway in February 2006. The tenders were called and details were finalised in August 2006. The Rs 5.8 crore tender was won by Maruthi Construction and its Malaysian partner. The Malaysian partner, however, walked out after a year when the project appeared to be going nowhere. It was meant to be a pre-cast subway and was to be completed in 18 months flat (a deadline that the BBMP sets for all its subway projects). Four years and counting, what you have, is a mess at the busiest junction, making it also extremely dangerous for both pedestrians and motorists alike.
The half dug up road has remained in that condition for close to two years and the Palike has done virtually nothing during the period. But why is the project dragging endlessly? The biggest problem, the officials say, is a 900mm sewage line running from Majestic to Gandhinagar under the subway. "We paid the BWSSB Rs 70 lakh to shift the line last year. But they are as yet to act," say BBMP officials.
In response, BWSSB officials say they found no takers for the tender to shift the pipeline."Getting private contractors to do any kind of work in the market area is difficult. We are trying our best," they say.
But, when will the project be completed? "We can't give you a date just yet, but we will complete it at the earliest," says T N Chikkarayappa, Chief Engineer, Major Works department.

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