Friday, November 13, 2009

Minister admits flaws in tender, contract process

Minister admits flaws in tender, contract process

Sunitha Rao R. Bangalore

The city is all set to get a complete infrastructural makeover, but improper and incomplete surveys before beginning the works are further delaying projects.
One classical example of such laxity in pre-construction survey is that of the Kadirenahalli underpass. District in-charge minister R Ashok, who was inspecting the underpass construction work at the Puttenahalli-Kadirenahalli cross on Thursday said, "The underpass work has been delayed as the radar instrument did not detect a rock lying beneath the ground where the underpass is coming up. This rock can only be removed by blasting it, using a compressor. This is the reason for the delay in the work."
Ashok said that generally the contractor offering the lowest bid wins the project. However, the quality of work is compromised in most such cases.
Inspecting the slow progress of work on the Puttenahalli underpass, Ashok said, "The central government had given this Rs22 crore project to a contractor who, in turn, has handed it over to a sub-contractor. We wanted to blacklist the contractor but refrained from doing so as that would further delay work," Ashok said.
However, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has recovered the penalty from both contractors. While the contractor working on the Puttenahalli underpass has paid a penalty of Rs50 lakh, the contractor in-charge of the Kadirenahalli underpass has paid the civic body Rs75 lakh.
The BBMP has also started an initiative to remove all encroachments along stormwater drains. "The BBMP is following the rulebook and removing encroachments as per law. Neither Katta Subramanya Naidu nor I will interfere in this regard. BBMP commissioner Bharat Lal Meena has completely authority in removing such encroachments. Those who have encroached these lands must realise their mistake," Ashok said.
Ashok admitted that the construction works have been delayed because of improper monitoring. "From now onwards, the BBMP engineers will constantly monitor the works," said Ashok. He added that both the underpass construction works will be completed by January 2010.
Having learnt its lessons the hard way round, the BBMP is now planning to be more discrete when giving away contracts to its various ambitious projects amounting to Rs22,000 crore. "The projects will be given only to those contractors who have not been blacklisted in any part of the world and whose work is of international standard. All previous works will be considered before giving the contract," Ashok said.
When asked about the delay in the BBMP polls, Ashok said, "The government will submit the ward-wise reservation list for the BBMP elections in 10 days. The polls will be conducted in January 2010 with no more unnecessary delays.
He added that the civic body elections were delayed only because the previous governments showed no interest. "It has been just a-year-and-a-half since the BJP took over the reins of the state government and we are already keen on conducting the elections at the earliest," Ashok said.


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