Friday, July 28, 2006

World-class roads in Bangalore? Ha! Ha!

World-class roads in Bangalore? Ha! Ha!
HC Panel Report Cites Poor Quality, Failure Of BMP
The Times of India

Bangalore: World-class roads.
That’s what was advertised and citizens were made to believe that under the Karnataka Municipal Reforms Project (KMRP) Bangalore. The High Court-appointed panel on roads headed by Capt Raja Rao has quite a different story to narrate.

“Results indicate that there is total failure of discharge of duties by the consultant, contractor and ward engineers and the accounts staff. All this has resulted in poor quality of road works. The High Court may consider and issue directions to the BMP.’’

And that is what the panel has to say on the so-so-called World Bankfunded roads.

In its last report to the High Court submitted on Thursday, the threemember panel has made a slew of observations and recommendations on what ails roads, the condition of drains, the functioning and lack of co-ordination at the BMP, as also financial mismanagement.

The panel has independently conducted a series of tests using samples from the KMRP roads and has found that the number of tests that need to be done to meet the Indian Road Congress (IRC) norms are dismal and inadequate. Explains Capt Raja Rao who’s heading the panel: “We have repeatedly brought this to the attention of the BMP, to no avail. People will continue calling them ‘world-class’ roads because nobody really knows what a world-class road is. There is no bench-mark to refer to.’’

Financial mismanagement: The panel has also noted what they term, mismanagement of funds and administrative irregularities.

“The annual budget of BMP is around Rs 2,000 crore and majority of this fund is spent on works. The accounts department of BMP and state accounts department have not noticed these lapses.’’ To ease the burden, the panel has also come up with a suggestion — “It is recommended that the BMP through state government prevail upon the Accountant General to take up the auditing work of the BMP and replace the ‘audit work of the BMP.’’ Mystery of city’s road mess exposed

Expert Committee Puts The Blame On Poor Drainage

Bangalore: The threemember expert committee on roads submitted its last report on Thursday, exposing the mystery behind Bangalore’s bad roads. The 11-volume report includes two volumes of photographs and five volumes of maps covering all the 100 wards of the city. Their first bimonthly report started on November 15 and four reports after that exposed the reasons for poor roads.

The committee exhaustively points out to water as the villain for the problem. They blamed the drainage mess in the tertiary drainage system in all 100 wards. These deficiencies if corrected can minimise road damage, and reduce cost of operation and maintenance of roads.

The committee said a proper comprehensive plan is necessary to provide proper tertiary drainage system. The cost of overhaul of tertiary drainage system will be about Rs 440 crore.

The three-member committee of retired chief engineers Capt Raja Rao, R Jayaprasad and BL Balakrishna was constituted on September 12, 2005 by the Karnataka High Court in response to a PIL filed by K N Subba Reddy through his counsel AV Amarnathan. The committee was originally given time till July. They had sought an extension till March 2007 but the HC has agreed to grant time till 31 August this year.

The high court will take up the issue on August 17 when BMP commissioner, Urban Development secretary and chief engineer of BMP will be present.
The HC has asked BMP and the state to file responses about implementing the road committees’ recommendations.

Other pointers listed:
n BMP should include arterial roads for upgradation after carrying out scientific and technical evaluation.
n Sub-base condition should be checked for stability before road upgradation.
n The practice of extending the last date for receipt of tenders should be given up.
n BMP should frame specific guidelines for entrustment of works on ‘piece works,’ to avoid frequent and unnecessary interference of elected representatives.
n Sought for road rollers to help fill potholes for better quality compaction, a mobile laboratory for the quality control section of BMP.
n BMP should take out massive programme to remove encroachments of footpaths and storm water drains.
n BMP should identify land to stock construction debris, which is responsible for blocking drains.
n Violation of building bylaw sanction plan is rampant quick solutions are absent therefore BMP has to be armed with more powers for effective execution.


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