Sunday, January 29, 2006

BMP proposes separate agency for projects

BMP proposes separate agency for projects

The Hindu

It is likely to be formed under the Companies Act

# The agency is expected to reduce the time for execution of works
# The plan is to make a person of repute head the agency
# Under the proposed plan there will be a central committee to scrutinise and finalise tenders

Bangalore: Some city governments have tried it and have been successful; others have not. Now, the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) has proposed to the Government that it form a separate entity to carry out major infrastructure projects, reducing delay and possible malpractices.

The BMP's proposal is for a special purpose vehicle that can function independent of both the Government and the civic body itself, but guided by it.

Such an agency is expected to reduce the time for execution of works since certain time-consuming procedures can be minimised, and also the monitoring could be better and the quality of work assured.

It may also be able to curb time and cost over-runs, some civic officials feel.

The agency is proposed to be formed under the Companies Act with the State Government holding equity of about Rs. 200 crores and more funds raised from financial institutions to meet infrastructure needs arising from time to time.

A list of priorities and details of project reports are likely to be made available to the financing institutions, similar to a business seeking assistance from banks.

The agency, headed by a person of repute and known for integrity in public life, may have 20 members or directors representing the stakeholders, including the city municipal councils around Bangalore.

With the likelihood of these CMCs coming under the BMP at a future date, their infrastructure needs will also be taken into consideration.

The existing system of carrying out infrastructure projects needs prior sanctions and approvals at various levels and leads to delays and possible cost over-runs.

Each project passes through 15 stages of approvals before getting the final sanction and allocation of funds. Irregularities and favouritism with regard to contractors have often been alleged by BMP corporators.

In the case of a special purpose vehicle, such as the agency suggested by the civic body, there will be a central committee to scrutinise and finalise tenders.

There will, thus, be less interference from the city MLAs or the BMP Council. BMP engineers feel this may effectively reduce project costs significantly.

Meanwhile, the Union Urban Development Ministry, which was informed about the BMP proposal recently, is known to have shown a positive response and suggested that the nodal agency could function under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Mission.

The Karnataka Government has sent for approval under the National Urban Mission a city development strategy plan for Bangalore.

The BMP is likely to make certain modifications in its proposal, as suggested by the Union Government.


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