A hostel which never hosted students

It is another tale of government owned building which is in shambles owing to poor quality of work.

A partial view of SC/ST hostel in Urwa. DH photo/Chandrahas KotekarThe building which was constructed to accommodate poor children hailing from SC/ST to pursue their education remained unused for the last 31 years owing to poor quality of work and tussle between the Mangalore City Corporation and the PWD. The hostel building gives us a pale shadow of the poor quality work.

The building remained unused for the purpose which it was constructed. In fact, the building wears a look of ‘bhooth bunglow’ as it has developed cracks and is in deplorable condition.

After 31 years, the MCC has given its green signal to demolish the building. Before demolishing the hostel, the experts from NITK will submit a report along with the sketch of the building. The experts will shoot the entire building to be kept as a document. The building will be demolished through the Nimriti Kendra, said District Social Welfare Officer Arun Furtado, at project committee meeting of the Zilla Panchayat.

History

The hostel was constructed under 18 per cent fund of the Municipality Corporation in 1981. A committee led by Deputy Commissioner, Zilla Panchayat CEO, Social Welfare officer and PWD officials have submitted report to the MCC to demolish the building.

Accordingly, the Council of the City Corporation has given green signal for the same.
The construction of the hostel building began in 1981. The Corporation had released funds under 18 per cent in 1982 and 1990 in installment. Unfortunately, as the building was of poor quality, it remained unused all these years.

Accordingly, the MCC had written a letter to the PWD to refund Rs 32,82,592 with the interest for carrying out poor  quality of work in June, 2000. However, the PWD refused to pay back the amount and said that as the MCC failed to release the amount on time, the work could not be carried out properly. The MCC was responsible for the dilapidated condition of the hostel. Later, the MCC decided to consult a lawyer before filing a case in the court.

The lawyer had suggested that the MCC can file a case in the court for justice as it was the PWD which used poor quality materials for the construction of the building. Hence, the PWD will have to pay back the amount. For several correspondences by the MCC, the anwer was same from the PWD.

In fact, the authorities had even asked the PWD to check the quality of the building and certify it. When it did not bear any fruit, the issue was brought to the notice of the Lokayukta.

However, Upa Lokayukta in his report stated that the work on the building commenced in 1981. As majority of the officials who were in charge of the work have been retired, it would be difficult to put the blame on an individual official.

The MCC was stating till recently that the demolition of the building would destroy the proof for poor quality work. When the issue of the hostel building was raised in Zilla Panchayat in 2001, it was decided to hand over the case to Directorate of Civil Rights Enforcement to probe into the poor quality of the work. However, the probe too did not yield much results and the tussle between the PWD and the MCC continued.

Sources in social welfare department said “the issue was pending unsolved for the last few years. We did not want the students to suffer owing to the tussle between the PWD and the MCC. So we had asked the MCC to demolish the building.”

The construction of a hostel in Kadri at the cost of Rs 1.90 crore is under progress. Another hostel will come up in Urwa and the work will be taken up at the earliest.

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