Thursday, February 24, 2005

Vikasa Soudha, still born?

An arrested development

With the project cost escalating way beyond the initial estimate and the government not releasing funds on time, the structure is unlikely to be completed soon.

Deccan Herald

The erstwhile S M Krishna government’s pet project Vikas Soudha, the annex to Vidhana Soudha, built to house all government departments in one localised area, has hit financial hurdles and is on a sluggish lap.

With many government departments functioning out of rented premises at various locations across the City, that cost the government exchequer lakhs of rupees in terms of annual rent alone, the Vikas Soudha project was started in 1999-2000, at an initial estimate of Rs 100 crore, to curb this expenditure.

As per the set completion deadline, the structure should have been ready by November last, with as many as 14 departments relocating to the new facility. Incidentally, former chief minister S M Krishna had even inaugurated the incomplete structure prior to the last Assembly elections.

With additional costs piling up, the cost of the project has now risen to Rs 145 crore. In May 2003 the government had allowed additional works worth Rs 22.15 crore. But there has been no word from authorities regarding sanction for the remaining Rs 22.85 crore.

However, the point is that funds cannot be released when the estimate itself has not been approved. Meanwhile, the fact that only Rs 98 crore has been released for the project till date is a reflection of the government’s apathy towards the project.

Though Rs 20 crore was allotted in the 2004-05 budget, followed by another Rs 3 crore in September 2004, this has been spent and additional works to the tune of Rs 10 crore has been carried out even without the government releasing the money.

According to sources, the Public Works Department had requested release of Rs 25 crore by December 2004, followed by another Rs 20 crore in March 2005, but the government has not obliged.

Cost escalators
Among the additional features that have resulted in the cost escalation of the project are: Generator room, special stairway, additional toilet blocks, porticos, solar heating system, electronic security system, among others. The government’s reluctance to make funds available for these features has led to the delay, said a reliable source.

A meeting for the sanction of a Rs 75 lakh landscaped garden was called last month, but the estimate was brought down to Rs 63 lakh. Meanwhile, the Public Works Department has told the government that the project could be completed by April, if funds to the tune of Rs 10 crore were released every month.


Post a Comment

<< Home