Thursday, March 30, 2006

BMP says it needs one year to finish roadworks

BMP says it needs one year to finish roadworks

The Hindu

Engineer-in-Chief's statement creates furore in Council

# Chief Minister had said that all works will be completed in six months
# Tender process for 67 works complete
# BMP Commissioner pleads ignorance about Chief Minister's statement
# Says upgradation of 300 km of roads will be completed

BANGALORE: Even as Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy said on Tuesday that all roadworks in the city will be completed within the next six months, Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) officials on Wednesday said it is difficult to achieve the task.

Replying to members at BMP Council meeting here, BMP Engineer-in-Chief Ramegowda said all roadworks will be completed only by March 2007.

This statement, which has come two days after the Chief Minister setting the deadline, created a furore in the Council with the opposition Janata Dal (Secular) members questioning whether the officials had misled the Chief Minister to make that announcement.

"Does this mean that you do not respect the Chief Minister's announcement or have you false information on the progress of roadworks?," Leader of the Opposition B.R. Nanjundappa and Kacharakanahalli corporator Padmanabha Reddy said.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader A.H. Basvaraju, who raised the issue, sought to know the progress of road upgradation.

"With work on most of the roads taken up under the first package of the `complete blacktop asphalting' project in 2003 yet to be completed, I wonder how you will start the second package," Kempegowdanagar corporator B.S. Satyanarayana said.

While the former Mayor P.R. Ramesh ridiculed that at this rate the BMP may require four years to upgrade 1,000 km of roads, the BJP members demanded that the BMP float global tenders for road upgradation.

When Mr. Ramegowda was asked to give details on the progress of work, he said works under the second package have been divided into 124 components to be taken up at a cost of Rs. 218 crores.

"While the tender process for 67 works at a cost of Rs. 111 crores has been completed and the file has been submitted to the Standing Committee on Works, we have called re-tenders for 30 works because of poor response from contractors. The remaining works will be entrusted to the Karnataka Land Army Corporation (KLAC) and we are hopeful of completing this process by April 10. But it is difficult to complete the works before the onset of monsoon," he said.

Commissioner unaware

Later, Commissioner K. Jothiramalingam, when reminded of the Chief Minister's deadline, told presspersons that he did not know what Mr. Kumaraswamy had said on roadworks.

"You must ask the Chief Minister about that. I can only say that we will be able to complete ongoing roadworks before the rains.

"We are hopeful of completing work on 300 km of roads taken up in the past," he said.

Pointing out that the officials had managed to negotiate with the asphalt contractors, who were reluctant to take up work after the High Court committee's recommendations on roadworks and increase in prices of raw material, the Commissioner said: "It is good that there is response from the contractors now."


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