The Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL), a public sector major, via its wholly owned subsidiary, GAIL Gas, has secured BBMP permission to lay liquified natural gas (LNG) ‘last mile’ pipelines for retail consumers in some parts of Bengaluru including HSR Layout (other areas being Jalahalli, etc).
The HSR pipeline network is one of the tail ends of the 1386 kilometer long Dabhol-Bangalore LNG pipeline, work on which was inaugurated by the former prime minister Manmohan Singh in December 2013 and was commissioned in February 2015.
Digging trenches for the first part of the work has commenced in the HSR Layout via a Delhi-based contractor appointed by project consultants Mecon Limited, again a PSU under the Ministry of Steel.
The work in progress, in HSR Layout, suggests that the contractors are ill-equipped to do an efficient job of the trench digging and are facing significant labour challenges. Trenches dug on 21st and 22nd November right in front of residential houses in Sector 7 have been left shoddily unfilled for over a week.
Residents have been unable to move easily in and out of their houses, and those with vehicles, or the aged/physically challenged, have had an even harder time.
Repeated follow-ups and personal meetings with the projects supervisor and their contractors have resulted in absolutely no action over several days. We have also learned from other sources that the BBMP and elected representatives ‘have demanded Rs. 18 lakh as a payout’ to provide permissions. Needless to say – such pay outs completely render any possibility of recourse to the local authorities for follow ups, inspection, quality monitoring or even for due completion of work, meaningless.
As in all cases of corruption, and yet again, the city’s upkeep and the ordinary citizen’s welfare has been sold out by local officials and politicians to the highest bidder.
Residents will be contacting everyone in this ‘supply chain’ including GAIL gas and Mecon to get this set right – but who is to bell the proverbial cat of the local authorities who seem to be the least accountable and most brazen?