Palike too liberal with funds for Freedom Park

Palike too liberal with funds for Freedom Park

Costly lung space

A file photo of the Freedom Park. dh photo

Documents obtained under the RTI by the Deccan Herald show that the Palike had developed the lung space at a total cost of Rs 18.27 crore — Rs eight crore in excess of the allocated funds.

The government order issued to the BBMP by the Urban Development Department (UDD) on January 12, 2007, clearly states that the civic agency cannot, under any circumstances, exceed the sanctioned amount of Rs 10.27 crore for the park.

Documents in possession of this newspaper further show that all the additional works were allotted to a single contractor, K Damodar, who was also entrusted with the park renovation project.

As per the GO issued by the UDD in response to a series of correspondence with the BBMP commissioner in 2006-07, the government had put a cap on the cost for renovating the Park with three explicit conditions: “It is hereby stated that the cost of the renovation shall not be escalated. And if escalated, it will not be considered.” “All expenses will be borne by the BBMP and no further assistance will be given towards the project by the government.” And “the project shall be executed by the BBMP as per the The Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurements (KTPP) Act, 1999.”

However, it appears that by wilfully violating the above clauses in the GO, the BBMP had gone ahead in 2008-09 by adding further additional works to the Freedom Park renovation by issuing another 10 work orders as per their own statement of work.

Barring the work of ‘Providing pathways to the development of Freedom Park’ under work code 000-09-NPPO-MI-013 worth Rs 98.62 lakh, the other nine additional projects at Park were executed by Damodar, who was originally allotted the project to convert the Central Jail into a lung space.

The additional projects include works like children's play area, entrance water pool concept, proposed people’s court flooring and tower flooring, apart from electrical and allied works for theatre, Mexican grass for the pathway and a chain link fencing to the Park.

Palike insiders say the additional projects were executed without any proper tendering process. “The projects were issued under the administrative period without calling for tenders as they would have to be submitted to the government for approval,” said the source.

The Freedom Park project was undertaken at an estimated cost of Rs 7.29 crore in 2004. Damodar bagged the contract for Rs 8.74 crore. However, due to escalation in building material cost and a delay of 22 months in issuing the work order for various reasons, the project was finally approved by the government at a cost of Rs 10.27 crore.

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