Reach 1 road upgrade plan may need multi-agency help

Reach 1 road upgrade plan may need multi-agency help

After months of inaction, the much-awaited hyper upgrade of roads along the Namma Metro stretch from Anil Kumble Circle, MG Road to Baiyappanahalli could be just round the corner. But even if the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) decides to be the project’s implementing agency at its July 26 Board meeting, the task would be too daunting without a coordinated, multi-agency effort.

Here’s why: The upgrade involves a complete overhaul of the roads and underground utilities, installation of permanent UG ducts for storm water, electric cables, sewage, OFCs, dedicated cycle lanes, paved footpaths, and wherever possible, even landscaping. Sewage lines, even under the showpiece MG Road are of British era vintage. A top civic agency official cautioned that the work would take at least six months.

The complexity of the project, designed to the demanding Tender SURE (Specifications for Urban Roads Execution) guidelines, had forced the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to urge BMRCL to be the lead agency to call for tenders. Contractors had refused to respond to any of the tenders called by BBMP for seven Tender-SURE roads, and the Palike reportedly feared a similar fate for this project too. 

At the last State High-Powered Committee meeting chaired by the Chief Secretary, it was decided that BMRCL could execute the project on behalf of BBMP. However, “it was also noted that BMRCL does not have the mandate to undertake the works not approved by the Board and Government of India (GOI), since GOI is also an equal partner in the project with Government of Karnataka. Hence the Chief Secretary advised to seek approval of Board of the company for taking up the work as deposit contribution works,” BMRCL Managing Director, N Sivasailam informed Deccan Herald in an email response.
Sivasailam said the proposal will now be taken up for consideration at the BMRCL Board’s next meeting on July 26. If the Board gives its green signal, a new division will be organised.

This, according to the MD, was because BMRCL lacked sufficient number of expert personnel to monitor execution of the project.

Project cost

The estimated total project cost of Rs. 114 crore was to be shared between BBMP, BMRCL,  Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM), Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), besides Bangalore Development Authority (BDA).

Sivasailam said BMRCL’s liability in the project was limited to the road works, estimated at about Rs. 6.3 crore. The State had committed to fund Rs. 29 crore on BWSSB’s behalf.

The Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the roads upgrade was prepared by the Bangalore City Connect Foundation (BCCF) and BBMP, refined to Tender-SURE specifications. Besides permanent underground utility ducts, concretisation of all the roads along the Namma Metro Reach One, bus bays, car-parking zones, junction upgrades, and tweaks to approach roads are also part of the project agenda.

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