Election is nearing; the pressure on the governments to expedite works is increasing. The promises made by the Chief Minister in budget have started to turn into reality. Slowly and steadily, BBMP is working towards asphalting and improving roads.
Although Chief Minister had promised to concretise more than 200 main roads of the city, in an event in October, the reality is, only two or three roads may get concretised. District incharge Ramalinga Reddy said, “Concretising road will not be possible this year. We will do that next year. At present we are working on asphalting roads, which was neglected by the previous government. Since 2006, nobody paid attention to roads, finally we have taken a step forward.”
On the approval of Technical Advisory Committee, 230 roads measuring up to 400 kms have been chosen for asphalting this year, at a cost of Rs.560 crore. Along with asphalting, government has also planned to restructure footpaths and de-silt storm water drains. This project will be executed in phases and is expected to be completed by the end of May 2014.
In first phase, 128 roads have been chosen on the basis of their importance. Superintendent of Major Roads and Infrastructure (Civil) Nagaraj said, “We have prioritised roads on the basis of the condition and demand by people. Important roads will be asphalted in the first phase.”
Work orders have been passed for this first 128 roads. Most of them are awarded to Karnataka Rural Infrastructure Development Limited while some have been awarded to Land Army. Superintendent engineer Nagraj said that, if necessary some works will be tendered.
The list of roads to be improved is here.
Absence of checks leads to wastage of money
The project seems to be moving at a full speed at Koramangala 80 feet road. Roads are yet to be tarred but footpaths are getting re-structured.
Some of the footpaths which are in the good condition continue to get repaired. There has been no system to check whether a footpath needs restructuring or not. When this was brought to the notice of District incharge Minister Ramalinga Reddy, he said, “I will tell the contractors not to touch roads if they are in good condition. That money can be saved and used somewhere else.”
Improvements of roads after seven years
Koramangala 80 feet road connecting Sarjapur Road to Sony World is one of the chosen 128 roads to be asphalted in the first phase. Residents of Koramangala are happy that BBMP has taken up this work. Nitin Sheshadri, a resident, said, “It is good that BBMP has taken up so many roads, it certainly needs to be done. I haven’t seen any such work done in the last seven years.”
However he suggests that BBMP should take up the main roads that have more of pedestrian density than interior, narrow lanes.
The two things that concern all citizens are the quality of work and the completion of the work. The work near Spencers, a retail shop located on 80 feet road, was initiated 15 days ago. Now the speed of work has slowed down. Sales manager Shivashankar says: “I am concerned about the quality of work. Such works usually don’t take long time but for the past two-three days it has been going slow.” Citizens are not aware of the reason.
Two Signal-free corridors await state’s nod
The two signal free corridors, Vellara junction to Hosur Road and Soap Factory to Okalipuram Road, are awaiting the final nod by the State government. While the corridor running between Vellara Junction to Hosur road is stalled due to Koramangala residents’ protest, the state government has asked for clarifications on the project. Technical Advisory Committee is appointed to inspect the project and give its feedback. “We are waiting for the advisory board’s recommendations,” said Superintendent of Major Roads and Infrastructure (Civil) Nagaraj.
A unidirectional underpass at HP office, bi-directional underpass at Hudi Main Road and Hope Farm junction have been planned, at a cost of Rs.99.5 crore. Approximately 94 properties are estimated to be acquired.
On Soap Factory to Okalipuram Road, a unidirectional underpass near Vivekananda College junction on Dr. Rajkumar road will be constructed for Rs.24.3 Crore. Some improvement of Road (Asphalting, pedestrian path etc.) is suggested along the Soap Factory to Rajajinagar Entrance along the Dr. Rajkumar Road. As many as 19 properties were estimated to be acquired. Most of these properties will be acquired on TDR basis.
The other two corridors running from Outer Ring Road – Mysore Road Junction to Central Silk Board Junction stretch and Vellara junction to Hope Farm are put on hold as the contractors got disqualified for not providing the necessary documents.
Okalipuram 8-lane corridor to start
The chugging Okalipuram 8-lane project may kickstart in February if Railway Board gives approval soon.
BBMP has handed over 3.16 acres of BBMP-owned Binny Mill land to Railway in exchange of the portion of land which is under Railways, involving no transaction of money, says Executive Engineer of Major Roads A S Ramesh , Executive Engineer of Major Roads Infrastructure (Projects).
The decision was taken under the presence of District incharge Ramalinga Reddy, Food and Security Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao and BJP MLA Suresh Kumar. “In a week’s time, we are expecting reply from the Rail board. As soon as the road is handed over, the work will start. All the preliminary tests are over; the project will require no extra time to start.”
Simplex Infrastructure Limited, the company that handled some part of Metro near Swastik stop and the contractor for Mantri Infrastructure, will carry out this project. There are three private properties on the land which are ready for TDR exchange, says Ramesh.
“The traffic density of the road is 18000 PC, the project will 100% ease the pressure and will be vehicular and pedestrian friendly. Pedestrians who want to go to railway station will not have any problems,” he adds.