Sunday, November 28, 2004

Mayor blames BATF for non-performance

What were BATF, govt doing: mayor
Times of India

Bangalore: Piqued at criticism being directed at the Bangalore City Corporation by IT czars for the pathetic state of roads in the city, mayor P.R. Ramesh sought to know why the “government and the BATF had failed to offer suggestions when roads were being laid, instead of pointing fingers about the flaws now.”

Ramesh, addressing his last media conference as mayor on Saturday, blamed his predecessors for not ensuring a quality inspection of roads cut under the Municipal Bond scheme and sought the heads of erring officials and contractors.

The mayor, who will lay down office on Monday, came down heavily on shoddy road works carried out under the Bond scheme and admitted that the contractors had violated norms. “When the roads were being laid in 2000, why didn’t the BATF or the government intervene and point out the flaws? They could have told the BCC that the works executed were not as per the specifications. They chose to keep mum then and now are raising a furore over bad roads. I am not blaming anyone, I am just blaming the system.”

The project, which was initially pegged at Rs 125 crore ended up stretching the budget to Rs 235 crore but quality had still suffered, he said.

“There were a lot of specifications in the original contract — that the top layer had to be scrapped, milled and then be used for strengthening, but none of the norms have been adhered to. The result is for all of us to see today. When we paid a whopping sum of Rs 235 crore, at least the quality of roads should have been up to the mark,” he remarked.

Asked why he didn’t initiate any probe into the matter after assuming charge as mayor, Ramesh maintained that the contract maintenance period of three years had lapsed by the time he was elected to the post.
“Once the three year maintenance contract expires, we cannot hold the contractors responsible. My predecessors should have taken note of this lapse and initiated action against the erring officials and contractors,’’ he pointed out.

He maintained that it was during his tenure that 1,000 km of roads were taken up for asphalting.
“From next year, no roads will be taken up for asphalting unless the drainage system is put in place. The BCC will also strengthen the roads by scrapping out the surface layer, grinding it with fresh bitumen mixture and relaying it,’’ he said.

‘Drain harvesting project on’

Bangalore: On Monday, mayor P.R. Ramesh will step down from his chair. But whatever happened to the much hyped drain harvesting and drain transportation projects that he had announced?

Just when you thought that these projects had gone down the drain, here is a bit of information. The blue print is getting ready.

Addressing his last press conference as mayor, Ramesh, on Saturday, informed that as a first step towards drain transportation in the city, BCC will cover the storm water drain on Mysore Road and convert it into an alternative road. Stup Consultants has been entrusted with the task of preparing feasibility reports of the drain.

“Even experts from Institute of Town Planning, Delhi have come to Bangalore twice and inspected the drains. They are expected to give their opinion shortly,’’ Ramesh informed.

Terming his tenure as “satisfactory,” he said the implementation of GIS in eight wards has been one of his successful projects.

In a booklet brought out on his tenure, Ramesh has detailed the works taken up by him in his tenure of 151 working days:
Council approval to widen 47 roads, construction of three grade separators.
Tackling the mosquito menace.
Streamlining the Kempegowda awards.
Revenue augmentation through hoardings.
Installing rain harvesting techniques in parks and BCC hospitals.
MoU with ISKCON for midday meal scheme for BCC school students.


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