All sound, but will action really follow?

All sound, but will action really follow?

Civic panel threat

All sound, but will action really follow?

There have been at least four past instances in which the committee inexplicably held out similar threats, raising questions on the avowed purpose of such seemingly tough action.

In the latest episode, the panel has cited traffic congestion on Sampige road in Malleswaram, to declare that it will put on hold the Mantri Developer's mega project of a 47-storeyed commercial building and a 55-floor residential complex atop the seven-floor structure for the Metro railway station.

Firing another salvo, the Palike panel has given itself 15 days to begin demolition of Mantri Mall’s compound wall and ramp to widen Sampige Road by four metres, effectively carving out an area of 160 square metres. But these declarations might not lead to action. At least that’s what the panel’s past record indicates.    

Here’s one instance: On December 27, 2010, the committee inspected the road widening and road laying work between Kadugodi Main Road and Chikka Tirupati Main Road. The project, worth Rs 4.5 crore, was awarded to two contractors, Ajay Enterprises and Srinivas Reddy. Finding the work substandard, the panel decided getting the construction material tested by Civil Tech.

When contacted, Vishwanath, the director of Civil Tech Consultants and Engineers, a BBMP empanelled consultant, said he was unaware of the issue and referred to another firm called Civil Tech Laboratory. Further enquiries drew a blank.

On January 1, the Palike panel inspected another of Mantri Developer's project at Gublala and found that sewage water was directly let into the open drain. The committee chairman directed the officers to issue a notice and block the drain with immediate effect. Three months on, the sewage is not only flowing into the open storm water drain but is also reportedly being let into the Subramanyapura Lake, leading to the growth of water hyacinth.

The Committee on major works had also targeted Sobha Developers. The panel’s chairperson H Ravindra, had alleged that the property firm had encroached upon a major storm water drain at 8th Milestone in Dasarahalli Zone. After an inspection on February 15, the Committee declared that 1.21 acres of Kharaab land was grabbed.
Ravindra even directed the officials concerned to file a case in the court, and ordered the Palike’s joint commissioner, Dasarahalli Zone, to stop the construction work 'with immediate effect'.

Yet, a month later, works at the Sobha Developers' site is going on unhindered. The BBMP joint commissioner of Dasarahalli Zone L Radhakrishna says the Palike is content with the Sobha Developers explanation that the plan was approved by BDA and that they did not encroach anything.

In another instance, the committee threatened to blacklist a private contractor engaged by the BBMP to build the Kadirenahalli underpass. In full media glare, the panel members had blasted the contractor for delay in work. A fresh deadline of March 31 was given. Four months later, neither has the contractor been blacklisted nor is the work anywhere near completion.

Requesting anonymity, a senior Palike engineer admitted that hardly 60 per cent of the work is complete. “Whenever our bosses tried to initiate action against the contractor, one or the other pressure is built on us and we drop the idea of penalising the contractor who delayed the work by more than two-and-a-half years,” the engineer said.

* Jan 1: BBMP panel talks about notice to developer for letting out sewage into open drain in Gublala. No action yet.
* Feb 15: Panel says developer encroached SWD, orders stoppage of Sobha Developers work at 8th mile, Dasarahalli zone. Palike now says it is satisfied with firm’s explanation.
* December: Panel threatens blacklisting contractor for delay in Kaderanahalli underpass. Four months later, work nowhere near completion, no action against contractor.

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