Saturday, June 19, 2010

Plan Bengaluru 2020 lies in cold storage

Plan Bengaluru 2020 lies in cold storage
ABIDe Has Listed Plans On Flawed Contracting

Bangalore: The BBMP’s final report on the Sanjayanagar wall collapse is out. The Lokayukta’s report on the incident is now eagerly awaited. However, one question remains: has the government got any way to ensure such incidents are not repeated? Or does it have a solution but hasn’t implemented it?
Reports on the incident so far indicate that shoddy work and the nexus between contractors and supervising officials brought the wall down. Surprisingly, it was also passed without any third-party quality checks. The wall stood tall but was ready to crack up, and when it did, Sanjana Singh was next to it, unfortunately.
Not that this nexus is news to the government. In January this year, it’s own task force — Agenda for Bengaluru Infrastructure Development (ABIDe) — had submitted an elaborate ‘PlanBengaluru 2020’ report to chief minister B S Yeddyurappa. The lacunae in the present contracting system and ‘specific solutions to address the issue’ are also part of the report. (extract of the report in box)
Till date, these recommendations have remained only on paper. Will there be any implementation or change in system at least after this incident? When contacted, sources in the CM’s office said no decision was as yet taken on it. “It’s a continuous process. Some of the projects in the report are already being implemented,’’ they said. However, there was very little known about the fate of the recommendations on the contracting system.
This is a very serious issue,
especially quality control of
works. This is irrespective of
any government in power. How many such works last long? The manner in which public works are being done and execution of work need a serious relook. On the flip side, there are also many projects coming to court — from the midnight tenders floated to the military memorial project. There are also private interests with every PIL filed in court. A majority of cases are ultimately rejected. But ultimately, public works are being affected and the sufferer is the public.
—Ashok Haranahalli |
Recommendations on contracting as mentioned in PlanBengaluru2020 document Issue 3: Flawed contracting
Observations on Maintenance Contracting

• The current contracting methodology is leaky and flawed. It is creating poor infrastructure and dissatisfied citizens.

• There is a need for a relook at this contracting process, keeping citizen and city interest as its only objective.

• The model is for the government to focus on planning, enforcement, standards — outsourcing contracts, execution to capable private companies and contractors.

• All roads in the BBMP network should be uniquely named and identified and all government agencies to use this standardized naming to prevent double billing and other contractual frauds.

• Each agency will create Work Packages of Maintenance Projects. Work Packages could be road, water supply, sanitation and solid waste management etc — ward or multiple wards-wise.

• Model contracts will exist for each of the packages. Model contracts will have following clear definitions:
— Quality, technical specifications.
— Severe and binding performance, quality obligations from contractors and penalty clauses.
— All contracts to be multi-year, with annuity payments from city to improve city’s financing. Contractors who are able to arrange external financing and not depend on city financing alone will be preferred (NHAI model).

• All ward offices should have disclosure boards and websites for all contracts in the ward with contract/contractor details, land use conversion approvals, all new project and plan sanctions.


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