Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Officials running Bangalore have wasted public money on several ill-conceived projects.


Officials running Bangalore have wasted public money on several ill-conceived projects.

MiD DAY brings you the lowdown on some big failures.

Richmond Road Flyover (Waste: Rs 18 Crore)

Richmond Road has the shameful distinction of having the only flyover in the world to have an x-crossing and a traffic signal.

It cost the BBMP Rs 18 crore to build in 2002.

The East West Construction group built the flyover, and Larsen and Toubro built the road underneath.

The flyover did not help ease traffic, and in 2004 several roads around it were made one-way. It was then that a traffic police constable started manning the traffic on top of the flyover.

Airport Road Flyover (Waste: Rs 10 Crore)

The company that won the flyover contract missed several deadlines, and guess what, the government ended up paying them a penalty of Rs 10 crore!

The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) handed over construction of the flyover to UP State Bridge Corporation (UPSBC).

When the work showed no signs of being completed, the BDA wanted to cancel the contract and hand over it to some other company. So the BDA went to the court, further delaying the project.

The court ruled in favour of UPSBC, and because the costs had escalated, asked the BDA to pay Rs 10 crore extra to UPSBC.

First deadline: April 30, 2004.
Second deadline: July 30, 2005.
Third deadline (set after the cases were cleared): August 2006.
Project completed: May 31, 2007.
Estimated cost: Rs 26.69 crore
Actual cost: Rs 36.20 crore

Magic Box Underpass Cauvery Cinema Junction (Waste: Rs 1.4 Crore)

The idea was to make the drive to the new airport signal free.

But the design is such that vehicles have to take a U turn to join Bellary Road. Free flow of traffic is restricted as the underpass is too narrow.

The underpass is called a magic box because it was built from pre-cast moulds.

The construction at the junction was promised in 24 hours, but took 33 days, which is of course better than conventional underpasses which take years.

If the planning had been done with attention to detail, the U turn could have been avoided. The cost of the underpass is Rs 1.4 crore.

The underpass was inaugurated in February, but within a month, the road above caved in when a truck went over it.

BIAL (Waste: Citizens' time and money)

Since the Bengaluru International Airport is 40 km away from the heart of the city, the government was forced to build expensive roads, light up the stretch, and build magic boxes on the way.

The huge user development fee of Rs 675 on outbound domestic flights and Rs 1,070 on outbound international flights directly squeezes money out of passengers. The government has signed away the right to run any airport within a radius of 150 km from the airport, thereby giving the consortium-run BIAL a monopoly.

Passengers spend a lot on taxi fares and fuel to reach the airport. The consortium will operate the airport for 30 years with an option to continue for another 30 years. The airport is spread over 4,050 acres, and was built at a cost of Rs 1,334 crore.

National College Flyover Basavanagudi (Waste: Rs 21.58 Crore)

This was built in haste and against the wishes of the culturally vibrant neighbourhood.
The flyover is a road over an already existing road. People can use the flyover as well as the road below to reach the same destination!

Moreover, after the construction of the road, the Vani Vilas Road became narrow and witnesses traffic jams.

Distinguished citizens had alleged the then MLA K Chandrashekar wanted to pocket money by constructing the flyover.

The flyover was built at a cost of Rs 21.58 crore and was inaugurated in September 2005.

V Ravichandar, CMD of Feedback Consulting Services and former member of Bangalore Agenda Task Force, has this to say:

We need projects that are well conceived and implemented well. If the projects are not conceived well the implementation goes awry. Richmond Road flyover is a classic example of this. Here we have a flyover with a police constable on it. We have found solutions which have gone wrong.

The National College flyover was not needed at all. The delay in the construction of the Airport Road flyover could have been avoided if the BDA had avoided the cancellation of the project and the litigation that followed.

There are lopsided projects as well like the magic boxes.

The magic box is a short-term solution. We need infrastructure that will last at least 50 years. The magic boxes don't seem built for the long term.

As for the airport, I am for two airports.


At Wednesday, June 25, 2008 at 8:08:00 PM GMT+5:30, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that the Magic Box and Airport Road fly-over was waste of money, but NOT the BIAL.

Why? When HAL was opened, it was supposedly far away from the city. But then the city expanded and now goes further than the HAL. The same holds for the BIAL. It might be pretty far away now, especially for the people in the South like Jayanagar and such (who are also the people who are complaining a LOT), but half a decade down the line, who knows?

At Wednesday, June 25, 2008 at 10:01:00 PM GMT+5:30, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another point to be remembered about the Airport Road flyover:-

Project completed: 31 May 2007.
Airport CLOSED: ..... May 2008

Awesome. 1 year flyover!

Regarding BIAL.
All new airports around the world have fast connectivity using either dedicated rail link or by extending an existing metro service.
Heck, Beijing has got Maglev trains that go(fly?) at 400 km/hr
Travel time from center of city : 10min

At Wednesday, June 25, 2008 at 10:04:00 PM GMT+5:30, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is regarding the Richmond road flyover. This is what happens when u have bald headed dinosaurs ,who sleep in the assembly/parliament/public functions etc. running the country/state/city.
Whose grand children go smash up a hotel and dad says : "young blood, hot blood" ,right. I will smash the office of his wife's TV channel and will say "old blood, even hotter"


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