As always, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike has come under fire this time too, from Comptroller Auditor General (CAG) of India. One of the reasons is the incomplete underpass at the C N Rao Circle in Bangalore, which was to be completed by March 2009. Even after five years and escalated project costs, the underpass is yet to be completed.
It is difficult not to notice the underpass construction at the C N Rao Circle near prestigious Indian Institute of Science. The work that was supposed to be completed five years ago has stretched beyond all deadlines. An audit by the CAG into this work has thrown light on the irregularities in this and many other road infrastructure projects undertaken in the city.
According to the CAG report, the Detailed Project Report (DPR) on C N Rao circle underpass itself was defective. The study conducted by the consultancy to prepare the DPR was just an eyewash for which the BBMP has paid Rs.3.5 lakh.
The report states: ”The construction of the underpass at CNR Rao Circle was designed on the basis of a DPR submitted by a consultant (entrusted during September 2007). The consultant was paid Rs 3.50 lakh (December 2007). On verification, it was observed that the traffic density study was conducted only for 12 hours on a single day (9 November 2006), which was prior to entrustment of the work of preparation of DPR. This also contravened the provisions contained in the Indian Roads Congress (IRC) specifications which stipulated traffic study for a period of at least seven days at peak hours. The data on pedestrian count survey was also not depicted in the DPR, indicating defective DPR by the consultant.”
The CAG report further describes the unrealistic delay in the work. ”The work of preparation of DPR for construction of underpass at CNR Rao Circle in front of Indian Institute of Science (IISc) was assigned to M/s. Manasa Consultants, Bangalore during September 2007. The DPR was submitted by SLEC (December 2007) and was approved by CSMC during January 2008 at a project cost of Rs.22.61 crore on turnkey basis. The administrative approval and technical sanction for the work was accorded (February 2008) by the CE (Projects). The work was awarded (May 2008) to M/s. Madhava Hytech – ECCI (Joint Venture- JV) at a tendered cost of `30.15 crore with a stipulation to complete the work within 10 months including monsoon.
The audit observed that though the land belonging to key institutions like IISc, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) and BWSSB were required to be acquired for the project, the BBMP consulted these institutions only during April-October 2008. The alignment of the proposed underpass was faulty to such an extent that it was designed to pass through important installations/buildings, due to which the institutions refused granting the land.”
Same is the case with the bridge at Gali Anjaneya Swamy junction, where the construction is getting delayed inordinately. The report digs out the reason behind this. “The work was awarded (October 2006) to M/s.National Projects Construction Corporation Ltd., for Rs.20.83 crore with a stipulation to complete the project within 15 months including monsoon. However, Audit observed that the consultant had not submitted road work details, road approach drawings with detailed designs of all four junctions, etc. This, coupled with delay in land acquisition and shifting of utilities, change in design etc., led to the progress of work being delayed inordinately.”
The upgradation work of sidewalk and asphalting works of MG Road, Koramangala and surrounding areas have also come under scrutiny in the CAG report for financial irregularities. The report has pointed out how the BBMP has facilitated unnecessary expenditure in many ways to benefit contractors and consultancies who were involved in these projects. This has led to additional payment of crores of rupees to the contractors, which clearly shows that the BBMP was interested in providing undue benefits to the contractors.
The report states: “Audit observed that the works pertaining to rehabilitation of IT/BT roads and sidewalks in MG Road, Koramangala, and surrounding areas commenced much before the agreement with Project Management Consultancies (PMC). It was not known as to how the works such as preparation of estimates, data rates, structural details, longitudinal and cross sectional designs were finalised when the works were already on-going and almost completed in some cases. Evidently, the payment made to the consultants was not based on the actual consultancy services rendered.”
Report has directly indicted BBMP for all these irregularities and has come up with some recommendations.
- Accountability needs to be fixed and enforced in order to inculcate financial discipline in handling project funds and
- Availability of land should be assessed before taking up road infrastructure projects
Citizens of Bangalore have come to terms with potholes on the road, half-constructed bridges, overflowing manholes, dangerous footpaths, and the dug up muddy roads, thanks to the haphazard working way of the BBMP. These are common sights all over the city. But coping up with the never ending construction work is a real challenge for the motorists. They are trapped in the web the spendthrift BBMP has laid. The organisation that has come into existence to protect the interests of the city, apparently interested in benefiting some. Can this CAG report be a catalyst and provide relief to the Bangaloreans who are stuck on the road with no way to go?