How Rs 20 lakh went down the drain

A probe into one of the frozen works of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) in the Shankar Mutt ward in Basavanagudi constituency has revealed that the engineers constructed a drain inside a narrow drain around a park only to squander Rs 20 lakh.

The Technical Vigilance Cell under Commissioner (TVCC) report accessed by Deccan Herald under the Right To Information (RTI) Act revealed that there was no need for the construction of a drain around the park. All that required there was to lay slabs on the existing drain but the Palike engineers constructed an RCC drain inside a granite stone drain.

The probe justifies the then Palike commissioner's decision to freeze 1,972 works worth Rs 532 crore. The corporators had built intense pressure on the BBMP Commissioner M Lakshminarayana asking him to restart the frozen works. They also suggested an alternative to the commissioner's decision that works, which did not start or which were unnecessary should remain frozen.

Following the suggestion, Lakshminarayana ordered reviewing some of the works. One such work entrusted by him to the TVCC on June 21 was the construction of drain around a park. The report pointed out that the Palike engineers created unnecessary work. If at all the engineers wished to improve the drain, they should have only laid slab over it, which could have cost not more than Rs five lakh.

The probe also points to the gross violation of the recommendations by the Karnataka High Court appointed committee.

The committee had strictly recommended ban on continuing works based on a Letter of Intent way back in 2006. The government too had agreed that it would not allow works to take place based on the Letter of Intent.

However, seven years after striking down the Letter of Intent system, the Palike engineers brought it back to life only to eat away public money.

TVCC report says...

* BBMP engineers construct RCC drain inside the drain
* Existing two ft drain narrowed to one ft
* No drawing of the drain available with the executive engineer
* Serial number of estimate missing from Executive Engineer’s record
* Original newspaper clipping of the tender notification missing from records
* No records to show that the tenders published in district and state tender bulletin
* Although banned, work was entrusted to contractor based on ‘Letter of Intent’
* Completion certificate not certified by competent authority
* Contract certificate missing from records
* Work could have been done in merely Rs five lakh

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