Saturday, August 25, 2007

Tunnel road project gropes in dark

Tunnel road project gropes in dark
P M Raghunandan, Bangalore, DH News Service:
Is the State Government really serious in implementing the proposed tunnel road project in Bangalore City?

Almost five months after the project was announced in the State budget, the Government has not given any instruction to Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) on going ahead with the project. It is also maintaining silence on the presentation made by Shanghai-based firm on the project three months ago. The presentation was made to Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy himself.
“We were only asked to do some spade work, and it was done by working out rough estimate and design. Now, we are waiting for further directions from the Government,” said BDA Commissioner Shankarlinge Gowda.
As per the BDA’s rough design, the project is estimated to cost Rs 800 crore. The tunnel will be of eight kms with two decks of three-lane each, and it will connect Minsk Square with Hebbal Flyover, which is linked to the six-lane Bellary road, making it a smooth drive up to the proposed Devanahalli international airport.
A major advantage of this project, according to BDA officials, is that it doesn’t require any land acquisition and nothing on the surface will be disturbed. The entire work will happen underground and people over ground will not realise the work is progressing.
Mr Shankarlinge Gowda said the project site (between Minsk Square and Hebbal flyover) falls under Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) area. Moreover, as the project is the first of its kind in the country, BDA has to have a technical collaboration with a firm which has expertise in building tunnel road. For this, Government’s permission is a must,” he added.
No takers
Besides, official sources said, there is no takers for the project among private firms.
Except for Shanghai-based firm, nobody has come forward so far in this regard. “Had any firm come forward to take up the project, we could have proposed them to the Government,” BDA officials said.
Swiss Challenge
As a result, officials in the Urban Development department said, there is a proposal to throw open the project under the Swiss Challenge system, wherein the first bidder will be entrusted with the project, if not challenged.
For this, the State Infrastructure department has to be roped in to implement the Swiss Challenge system. But nothing has been done so far in this regard also.
“There is no instructions on tunnel road project from the Government,” Infrastructure Development department Principal Secretary V P Baligar clarified.


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