Thursday, April 19, 2007

Skywalk project at consultant’s mercy

Skywalk project at consultant’s mercy
Thursday April 19 2007 10:37 IST

BANGALORE: It has been more than a month after Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) invited expressions of interest for erecting pedestrian skywalks with capsule lifts in the city.

But the project is yet to take off. Palike sources said that the technical consultant, Urban First has been sitting over the file demanding payment of arrears for its work in Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

Following the failure of pedestrian bridges with stairs, BBMP had come up with a proposal to introduce capsule lifts, as traditional escalators are considered risky for children and the elderly.

The concept is designed by Palike’s chief engineer (infrastructure) H Rajasimha and BBMP invited expression of interest on design-build-own- operate-and-transfer (DeBOOT) basis.

Nearly 70 companies from across the nation had evinced interest to take up the project. Palike then referred these bids to Urban First for technical evaluation. But the consultant has not sent the evaluation report, said sources.

JNNURM technical advisor Vishwanath told this website's newspaper that some payment was due to Urban First but did not give much detail on it. “Urban First has done various works for Palike and some bills are yet to be paid,” he said.

But can the consultant hold the Palike to ransom demanding payment for past work? “I won’t be able to comment on it,” Vishwanath said.

Managing director of Urban First Narasimhan spoke to this website's newspaper from Chennai and said that skywalks had failed in the past too. “Palike had taken up skywalks with stairs but it was unsuccessful. I have advised them to review the proposal,” he said.

But the current skywalks do not use stairs. Further, the comment on whether skywalks should be taken up or not is beyond terms of reference. Then this lapse was pointed out Narasimhan said that he had sent the evaluation of expressions of interest to BBMP long ago. But Palike sources denied the claim.

Special commissioner Gaurav Gupta said that he did not know why the skywalks were being delayed but promised to look into the matter


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