No buyers for Malleswaram market project

Procedures given a go-by; Structure may further congest Sampige Road

The foundation-laying ceremony for the new Malleswaram market building by Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, scheduled for March 12, has triggered fresh controversy.

According to sources, much of the contention revolves around the many irregularities which have marred the project.

Available documents suggest that general procedures were thrown to the wind, while the cost of the project was increased by almost double within a year of preparing the estimate.

The idea of constructing a new building by razing the old structure was first proposed on July 24, 2010, during a meeting convened by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA). On August 26, 2010, during the BDA Board Meeting, the cost of the project was estimated to be Rs 76.3 crore.

The project remained in cold storage for over a year, only to resurface during the BDA Board Meeting on December 20, 2011.

It was then decided that the project cost should be Rs 132 crore as the contractor of the building would receive deferred payments in six instalments.

This is also the first project of its kind where the BDA will pay an interest of 14 per cent per annum to the contractor.

Other irregularities

What appears more surprising is that even before the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and the BDA entered into an agreement to proceedwith the project on BBMP's property in May 2012, the BDA floated tenders on June 26, 2011. It issued the work order on March 14, 2012.

RTI activist B M Shivakumar, who obtained the document, alleged that the BDA and the BBMP signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on May 9, 2012, almost two months after issuing the work order.

He said, “As per standard procedure, the MoU should have been signed first. Furthermore, an estimate should have been prepared, after which the tender should have been floated. Last comes the work order. In this case, no procedure was followed.”

While chalking out the lavish plan, the civic agencies did not bother to get the views of Bangaloreans in general and residents of Malleswaram in particular. “When the residents of Malleswaram are already puzzled with Mantri Mall on the narrow Sampige Road, the civic agencies have come up with another mall on the same road,” said Shivakumar.

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