New Year, new contract for Whitefield railway bridge

Responses to the new tenders issued by the South Western Railways for completion of the Whitefield bridge project will be opened in the third week of this month, says a top official at the Railways.

In yet another twist to the long saga, Railways had terminated its contract last month with Soham Engineering Constructions, the Hyderabad-based firm that had been struggling to complete the bridge. Soham had been citing a cash flow crunch, but technical issues had caused the delay as well.

One of the two ramps biting thin air at the railway intersection. Pic: Subramaniam Vincent.

The source at the Railways, speaking on condition of anonymity told Citizen Matters that Soham’s contract was terminated on grounds of non-performance. Soham has confirmed this. Non-performance includes two aspects – delays and the quality of work, says the Railways source.

The fresh tender was floated in December 2009. Responses have been received, says the source at the Railways and opening of the tenders is taking place around January 19th. It will take around a few weeks to a month from then on to the signing of a fresh contract, says the source to Citizen Matters.

The exact status of the project as it comes up for handover is not clear. The welding approvals required from Welding Research Institute (WRI) in Trichy had still not been obtained at the time of termination. Soham and the Railways confirm this.

The source from the Railways is also non-committal. "The girder is in-between completion", he admitted, and said that "slight" work was pending. The outgoing contractor Soham claims that the girder is 95 per cent complete, and confirms that welding approvals for the girder has not come through yet.

Railways say that the handing over will happen as per the "established methods" in practice. Railways have set norms of action under such circumstances.

In November last year, Soham had ‘restarted’ work after a month-long stoppage. Soham stopped the work due to cash shortage. At that time the project was already over two years behind from its original schedule. Citizen Matters has chronicled this saga over several stories since 2008. (See here and here).

From the time a new contractor takes over, it may take about three months for the bridge to get completed, says the Railways’ source. But he added that that no deadline has been set to complete the project under a new tender. Earlier deadlines having already come to naught, the Railways are being careful before proposing new dates for the opening of the bridge.

The Railways feels that the asphalting work for the road over the bridge is the easy part that is left unfinished. It is the laying of the 42 metre steel girder across the road, over six tracks of 25000-volt lines, that is the most critical work that is left.   ⊕

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22 Comments

  1. Hi

    This is sharmila and want to help u guys to sortout this issue. I am planning to move to Sobha adamus in couple of months.

  2. Hi All,
    This is Ashish from MIMS Ardendale and I am interested in helping things along.
    @Sudipto: I like your idea of food/flowers and a protest symbol – specially involving children. Its constructive.
    @Himangshu: you have media contacts to mobilize? TV9 maybe ?

  3. Vandana,
    Any updates on dharna planned? Do you have sufficient support from other socities in kadugodi? We can also invlove Praja initiative and they have contacts to get right media coverage.

    Regds,
    Manish

  4. Good news, indeed!
    Somehow didn’t notice the work.. Every time, I pass by in the last couple of days, was on the look out for any activity on the flyover! I will stop by and may be take couple of snaps and share!

    Cheers…Surya

  5. Yes, they are working on the girders that have been made by Soham. I see that the work area has been cleaned, the girders now have some serial numbers. They have removed the covering in front and have a temporary genset for the welding power supply.

    I think we should still do some movement with children – like carry lunch/flowers and hand them over to the workers from KPR. Make them conscious of the responsibility. Sounds crazy? 🙂

  6. The tender has been awarded to a new firm (KPR), yes, and work has begun. More on this once we get additional details.

  7. Cool…we are going to discuss this in one of our meetings soon and we need to have people who will talk to other associations and plan the same.Would like to get view of other apartment complexes as well.Want to make it grand so that we make a mark

  8. I second that..I think it’s high time that we start acting on the ground! Vandana, I am staying in Golden Blossom too..count me in for any help you need to mobilize people/media.

  9. Dear All,
    I stay in Golden Blossoms and we are thinking to go to the complexes and organise a darna on the bridge.On the both sides of the bridge .We will inform the media in advance and plan it in such a way that we get attention.Wanted to know if other people in other complexes find this worth,then we can work together on the same

  10. The problem is that even after delay of 2 years There is no sense of urgency to complete this ROB. The ROI on this small 2 lane less than 500 m flyover is zero for last 4 years apart from never ending problems being faced by people.

  11. I just spoke to a top official the SW Railways. He says the process “has begun” and “there is a committee to look into the bids, which is doing its work now”. He says it will take 20-25 days to select the contractor.

  12. Any updates on Tender allocation for this flyover which was to be done on 19th Jan at 3:00 PM? When is work going to start?

  13. Yes, the steel bit is still mentioned. it is gigantic document over 100 pages will all the works detailed in parts. Also it seems like the cost was revised from Rs.3.12 crores to Rs.2.8 crores at the fag end of December.

  14. I read through the tender documents very quickly. The bride design still remains a steel structure over the railway line.

  15. A reader Narayanan has posted this comment on our earlier Nov 2009 article on ‘Second life for Whitefield Bridge’

    [18-Jan, 08 AM] Narayanan

    Inidan Railways has given a new tender for Rs.Rs 3,12,08,698/- for the same. From the tender it looks like they have dropped the idea of gridder and are going in for a RCC structure. I think we cannot expect a new completion date in anytime less than 1 year.

    http://tenders.gov.in/innerpage.asp?choice=tc5&tid=karn266661&work=1

  16. Really appreciate Citizen Matters for pursuing this.
    While the mainstream media focuses of political gossip and news of virtually no use, articles of citizen-matters are like a breath of fresh air. Keep it up.

  17. I think, its high time, the people to do something!
    Couple of weeks back work on Cox town flyover restarted after local people staged a demonstration. It appears no one is interested in this project (all stakeholders including people of the locality!!!).
    How about celebrating 5th anniversary of the ROB??

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