Friday, January 08, 2010


The library building has been under construction for the last 7 years in HRBR Layout and the delay has jacked up the costs

Residents of HRBR Layout have been waiting for a public library for the last seven years, but in vain. While the construction has been stopped midway due to paucity of funds, the delay has resulted in a cost escalation of 108 per cent.
The state government decided to build a public library at HRBR BDA Layout II Block in Kalyannagar on a plot measuring 2,528 sq mts. On Nov 17, 2003, the Public Library Department’s director decided to seek out the Karnataka Land Army (KLA) for building it.
According to KLA’s blueprint, the construction would cost Rs 95.16 lakh, an amount that would be borne by the library authority treasury.
However, following a letter from A Krishnappa, MLA from Varthur constituency, to the Public Library Department on May 3, 2005, the task of building the library was handed over to the Panchayat Raj Engineering Division, which belongs to Bangalore Urban District Zilla Panchayat.
This division too prepared a blueprint. “The matter was discussed with the Library Department director on May 17, 2005 and the latter asked for the blueprint,” said an officer from the department.
On July 12, 2005, the approval was obtained for building a three-storey, including an auditorium and storeroom on the ground floor, sections for periodicals, children, and internet on the first floor and books on the third.
After the estimate was submitted to chief engineer, Panchayat Raj Engineering Department, Bhairava Civil Engineering Works, which was awarded the tender, began work on March 23, 2006.
On Nov 24, 2006, the treasury of City Library Authority (east division) sanctioned Rs 50 lakh and on Oct 12, 2007, Rs 45.16 lakh.
However, the construction came to a halt, with only the ground floor being completed. The executive engineer said the estimate was initially for 33 columns but on soil investigation, it was found the building required 53 columns.
This required additional granite flooring, electrification, a lift, water supply & sanitation, drilling of borewells, rainwater harvesting and steel railings for stairs. On April 2, 2007, the executive engineer submitted a revised estimate for Rs 259 lakh.
Meanwhile, the library department asked him for clarification on the 108 per cent cost escalation. On Oct 23, 2008, he submitted the third estimate for Rs 198 lakh and sought another Rs 102.84 lakh for resuming work. In a letter to the library department, he sought immediate sanction of the amount as the cost of construction materials might go up in April, which would add to the total cost. The department turned down the request funds shortage.
On Sept 7, 2009, Sarvagnanagar legislator K J George and library department secretary Jogi held a meeting and ordered completion of the first floor at a cost of Rs 99.96 lakh. “The zilla panchayat will complete the ground floor in four months,” said an official.
“The other two floors will be taken up after we find a source to fund it. The task of constructing these floors will be given to other agencies like the PWD or the Karnataka Land Army,” he said.
“The zilla panchayat delayed the construction work. We have asked them to complete it in four months. Once it it ready, the library will be opened,” said S B Hondadakeri, director, Public Library Department.


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