Kadirenahalli underpass haunted by deadlines

Kadirenahalli underpass haunted by deadlines

Work limps despite Palike acquiring land for the project

The construction of a grade separator at Kadirenahalli near Kumaraswamy Layout appears to be a perennial project. Madhava Hytech, the contractor, has failed to meet the fifth deadline of March 15. The Rs 28.72-crore project, launched in March 2008, was expected to be completed in January 2009. 

The project, was supposed to get over three years ago in January 2009. But it is nowhere near completion even three years later. Clueless about the completion date, the Palike officials have only one thing to say: The underpass will open shortly. 

The helplessness of the government agencies to get the work completed could be gauged from the fact that the contractor constructing the grade separator breached the fifth deadline of March 15, which Mayor Sharadamma had fixed when she visited the spot in January this year.

For the last couple of years, it has become a ritual for the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and BBMP commissioner to visit the place with media, take the contractor to task for the delay, threaten to blacklist him and set a fresh deadline. These warnings have not had an impact on Madhava Hytech, the Hyderabad-based construction firm.

The BBMP officials allege that the delay in acquiring private properties has come in handy for the contractor to blame the Palike and drag the work. However, even after the Palike acquired the 42 properties needed for the construction of the underpass, the project is not yet over.

Minister for Home and Transport R Ashoka has denied that the contractor has political protection. 

Ashoka said, “Our sole objective is to get the work done. If we blacklist the contractor now, he may go to court, get a stay on our action and delay the work further. We do not want the work to be delayed any more. Once the underpass is operational, we will see to it that the contractor does not get work anywhere in Karnataka, leave alone Bangalore.”

He said the contractor was struggling to complete the work as he quoted very less cost under the turn-key basis in which there is no provision for cost escalation.

Palike Commissioner Shankarlinge Gowda blamed engineers too for not monitoring the work properly. He said he would initiate action against the engineers once the project is over. A Palike engineer associated with the project said the contractor was very poor in mobilising workers.

“They do not have enough labourers, machines, equipment to finish the work. It has become a big headache for us,” said the engineer.