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Filling potholes takes BBMP four years

G Manjusainath, Bangalore, Nov 24, 2012, DHNS:

In a stark example of the monumental inefficiency for which it is known, the BBMP’s work orders for road improvement in the City have taken four years to be completed.

The works include pothole filling, painting signboards, improvement of roads, repairing drains and laying concrete roads across the City.

If the bills submitted by the contractors to the BBMP are anything to go by, many work orders issued in the Bangalore South constituency in 2008, 2009 and 2010 were completed as recently as April 2012. Documents accessed by Deccan Herald show that way back in 2008, work orders worth Rs 58,376 were issued for the improvement of road from B G Road to Venkatappa House in Gottigere village in Arekere sub-division whose bills were submitted on April 9, 2012.

Further, bills were submitted in December 2011 for work order issued in 2008 for the improvement of Chunchaghatta Main Road from Renukumbaranagar to Harinagar Cross.

Bills of Rs 3.35 lakh were submitted for the improvement of roads in Mohan Layout in Ward Number 192, for which bills were submitted on December 7, 2011. Work order to construct footpath in Kothnur Dinne at a cost of Rs 5.57 lakh, which was issued in 2009, seems to have got completed only in March 2012.

Minor works like painting signboards in Ward-143, work orders for which were issued in 2010, were completed in August 2011. Pothole filling in Arekere at a cost of Rs 12,500 seems to have got completed in August 2011, although the work orders were issued in 2010. There could be various reasons, say the Palike officers. In 2010, the work-code scam surfaced in which contractors who received orders for various works and did not execute them within time, but managed to keep the contracts alive in the form of spillover works, using their influence. That subterfuge also helped them to escalate project cost.  While the bureaucrats-contractor-politician nexus thrived, tax-payers complained. The then BBMP Commissioner, Siddaiah, froze all the work codes and ordered review of all the spillover works, and removed restriction on some of the genuine works which warranted time.

A senior BBMP officer requesting anonymity said once Siddaiah was removed as Commissioner in November 2011, restrictions were removed from many frozen works and they were still in progress at many places till recently.

Raising bills without any work or substandard works is one challenge the people of the City are confronting, and the enormous delay in the execution of work is another.

Palike Commissioner Rajneesh Goel has focused on bringing a new project monitoring system for major as well as minor works. He has also underlined the need to review the spillover works.

“Any work which gets delayed too much needs to be reviewed,” says Goel.
Chandrashekhar, a consumer rights activist, said the delay in the execution of works in an unregulated manner amounts to cheating the tax-payers.

“Works like pothole filling, road asphalting, de-silting of drains within the stipulated time is the right of the citizens. The officials and the City Fathers owe an explanation if works do not take place or get delayed,” he says.


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