Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Subway project stalled due to funds shortage

Subway project stalled due to funds shortage
Deccan Herald

Motorists jostling their way through the dusty and pothole-ridden Modi Road-Chord Road junction in Rajajinagar (near the subway construction), may have to put up with the bumpy ride till the end of next year.

For, the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike’s (BMP) ongoing Modi Road-Chord Road subway project has hit a roadblock and the project will be delayed by several months. The subway work has come to a grinding halt since the last two months, with the BMP failing to clear the contractor’s monthly bills.

According to an agreement between the BMP and the contractor — East Cost Construction and Industries Limited (ECCIL), the former should clear bills towards works implemented on a monthly basis or as and when the bills are submitted. The latter has agreed to complete the project within 18 months at an estimated cost of Rs 11.4 crore.

But BMP has so far paid just Rs 33 lakh against bills worth Rs 1.79 crore submitted by the contractor. “How can we implement the project if BMP keeps the bills pending. If dues are not cleared soon, the project implementation will no doubt be delayed,” ECCIL Project Manager Dhirumani told Deccan Herald.

The proposed subway is envisaged to clear the traffic bottleneck at this busy junction. The project, once completed, will enable motorists (on both West of Chord Road and Modi Hospital Road) to pass through this junction without any hindrance.

Besides, the contractor has been able to implement just over 15 per cent of the project in the last six months. “We are awaiting a green signal from the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) and the traffic police to carry out the work. While BWSSB has delayed shifting its water lines, the traffic police has sought more time to make arrangements to divert the traffic,” Mr Dhirumani said.

No allocation of funds
The subway project seems to have become an orphan as far as allocation of funds is concerned. Initially, BMP had planned to fund the project by availing itself of a loan from the Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation (KUIDFC). But KUIDFC had put the request on the back-burner citing technical reasons. In the meantime, BMP went ahead with its plan on the project, hoping that funds could be mobilised in the due course, and issued the work order to the contractor.

“This, as a result, has crippled the BMP from clearing the bills and has forced it to keep them pending. BMP has no other option but to divert funds earmarked for some other plans towards the subway project,” BMP official sources said.


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