BBMP has taken up road widening work up again and talk of TDR is afloat. But for the first time the agency is saying that if the people do not want TDR, financial compensation may be offered.
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K R Niranjan, BBMP Special Commissioner, says, "In core areas we can minimise road works by doing junction improvement etc. But in outer areas these works are necessary and land will be obtained through TDR; but if public do not accept TDRs we need to have reserve funds for acquisition."
Road widening in outer areas is part of the ship load of projects worth Rs.22000 crore that are slated to go into the city council for approval soon. This giant project had been stalled for the last one-and-half years in the midnight tender case in High Court. The case was dismissed in March, allowing BBMP to go ahead with the projects.
These works include widening of 90 roads at the cost of Rs 2350 cr in the new BBMP zones – Bommanahalli, Rajarajeswari Nagar, Mahadevpura, Byatarayanapura and Dasarahalli. Of the 90 roads, 58 are arterial and 32 are sub-arterial roads.
Though HC dismissed the case, BBMP would place the project in Council once again for its approval. BBMP Commissioner H Siddaiah says, "The projects are now before BBMP’s Standing Committee for Major works. Once the committee approves it, it will go to the Council."
1) Making 12 corridors signal-free covering 122 kms – Rs 2500 cr
2) Road widening in new BBMP zones – Rs 2350 cr
3) Construction of elevated via ducts – Rs 2178 cr
4) Railway over/under bridges – Rs 355 cr
5) Elevated road over Storm Water Drains (SWDs) at KH Road-Koramangala National Games Village (5 km) and Rajiv Gandhi Circle,Sheshadripuram-Mysore road (10 km) – Rs 900 cr
6) Remodelling of SWDs in new zones – Rs 6600 cr
7) 200 Skywalks along signal free corridors – Rs 600 cr
8) 200 pedestrian subways using precast RCC segments – Rs 200 cr
9) Elevated corridors from Madivala to Hebbal and from Vellara jn to Kundanahalli – Rs 3000 cr
10) Lake and park improvement – Rs 1000 cr
11) Improving markets and building new ones – Rs 1300 cr
12) Land acquisition cost if TDR scheme fails – Rs 1000 cr
Total – Rs 21983 cr, rounded off to Rs 22,000 cr
The case against BBMP was that it invited prequalification tenders for the projects in September and October 2009 when the Council did not exist, and that it had also violated many tender procedures. The PIL also alleged that state government deliberately delayed BBMP elections to give away contracts for major projects. Despite HC’s directions in 2008 and 2009 to hold elections, government held elections only in March 2010.
The HC dismissed the case based on Government’s response that the elections were delayed due to expansion of BBMP. HC ruled that only the delay in holding elections was not enough to prove any wrong motive on government’s part. And on the allegations that the tender process were not followed, Court ruled that the mentioned procedures applied only at the actual tender stage and not during prequalification.
The prequalification tenders were approved by Dilip Rau, the Administrator appointed by state government. Prequalification is done to screen applicants for their ability to execute the project, based on past performance and resources; it precedes the actual tender process.
The PIL was filed by former Mayors P R Ramesh and M Ramachandrappa, and former KSRTC Chairman T Prabhakar. Respondents for the case were BBMP and state government.
Other than road widening, the prequalification notices included projects for signal free corridors, construction of railway bridges, elevated corridors, skywalks, subways, markets etc. It also sets aside Rs 1000 cr for land acquisition during road widening in case TDR scheme fails. The combined cost of all these projects is Rs 22,000 cr, as per BBMP documents. Niranjan says that Rs 6,000 cr may be required for land acquisition during road works such as widening and signal-free corridor projects, though only Rs 1000 cr has been allocated for this.
After Administrator approved the project, the cabinet and state government approved them. State government issued a Government Order approving the projects in December 2009. (All BBMP projects costing more than Rs 5 cr should be approved by state government as per Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurements Act, 1999 (Transparency Act)).
BBMP completed the prequalification process in December – of the 21 firms that applied, 20 were qualified. After this BBMP invited technical and financial bids from the selected agencies. By then BBMP had received the PIL notice challenging the process.
On January 12, 2010, BBMP opened the technical and financial bids and negotiated with applicants. The PIL was heard on January 21, during which BBMP assured the court that the procedures will be stopped. The project has been on hold since then.
Though the case was dismissed by HC, Ramesh says that he would approach the Supreme Court. "The points raised in the case still stand, and we plan to go to SC if BBMP takes up the project again. We are waiting to see what action BBMP will take," he says. Ramesh and Ramachandrappa were members in the last Council (whose term ended in 2006), but are not Council members now. ⊕