Friday, July 22, 2005

Land Army may get pavement upgrading work yet again

Land Army may get pavement upgrading work yet again

The Hindu

The Mahanagara Palike withdrew work allotted to the agency in September last

# Sources say Land Army Corporation has bagged the contract as its bid was the lowest
# BMP Additional Commissioner (Finance) denies that work will be allotted to the agency
# Ruling party leader says agency given contract for work in Malleswaram

DANGEROUS STRETCH: The pavement on Raj Bhavan Road has become unusable. — Photo: K. Gopinathan

BANGALORE: In September last, the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) withdrew pavement upgrading work allotted to the Karnataka Land Army Corporation (KLAC) on the charge of "shoddy work".

Though the Bangalore Mangalore Palike Council decided against allotting any package to the Land Army Corporation in the second phase, plans are afoot to again entrust the work to the agency.

Sources in the BMP told The Hindu that the Land Army Corporation had bagged a contract under the second package in Malleswaram. Though the civic body invited short-term tenders for the work, the Land Army Corporation has bagged the contract, as its bid was the lowest, the sources said.

The first phase of the Rs. 70-crore pavement upgrading work was withdrawn from the agency following complaints of "shoddy work" by corporators from all parties. The members alleged that the work implemented did not match the prescribed technical specifications.

The BMP proposed to remodel 200 km of pavement at a cost of Rs. 70 crores in 2002. It awarded the Land Army Corporation the first phase of the project to upgrade 60 km of pavement at a cost of Rs. 20 crores.

The remodelling included laying of RCC kerbs, interlocking blocks, shoulder drains, ducts and landscaping. But the organisation was able to upgrade only 47.91 km of the 60 km in the first phase within the deadline.

Then, corporators from all parties always complained that pedestrians were put to severe hardship, as the stone slabs jutted out on almost all the freshly laid footpaths.

Though the BMP had specified that the remodelled pavements should be able to bear a compressed strength of 280 kg, portions of the pavement had sunk in, they alleged.

When contacted the BMP Additional Commissioner (Finance), P.K. Srihari, who is also the in-charge Engineer-in-Chief, denied that the second phase was being allotted to the Land Army Corporation.

"We have sanctioned Rs. 45 lakhs to each of the 100 wards exclusively for pavement remodelling. Work will start after the area corporators identify footpaths that have not been paved so far. They can either use granite slabs or interlocking blocks (cobble stones) or Sira stones," he said.

The ruling party leader, B.T. Sreenivasa Murthy, who admitted that the Land Army Corporation had been entrusted with a contract in Malleswaram, said the BMP Council had last month endorsed the revised estimates for the work implemented by the agency in the first phase.

"The original estimate of Rs. 20.57 crores has been revised to Rs. 25 crores as the agency had also implemented some additional works under the junction improvement scheme. The issue was placed in the council after the project monitoring group approved it," he added.


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