TVCC won't monitor road works this time

TVCC won't monitor road works this time

Under pressure, BBMP commissioner withdraws his order

A paradise is in the making in Bangalore as the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike has undertaken asphalting of City roads with a whopping Rs 400 crore.

However, the watchdog agency of the BBMP, the Technical Vigilance Cell under Commissioner (TVCC), which has unearthed at least Rs 15,000 crore worth of scams in the civic agency over the years, has been asked not to monitor or certify the quality of works.

As is the tradition in the BBMP to carry out public works ahead of polls, this year too asphalting works worth Rs 400 crore have been assigned to the Karnataka Rural Infrastructure Development Limited (KRIDL) and, at a few places, the work is already under way.

Sources in the BBMP said the asphalting was supposed to start immediately after getting the contract but at most of the places it is yet to begin. Keeping in view the scams that have taken place in the past, BBMP commissioner M Lakshminarayana had directed the TVCC to monitor the work but owing to the pressure from the political bosses, he had to withdraw his order within nine days.

Documents available with Deccan Herald show that on March 15, the BBMP commissioner issued an order saying that the KRIDL has been assigned to undertake the asphalting of roads. He directed the BBMP Major Roads division that the bills be cleared only after the Chief Engineer of the TVCC certifies the quality of work.

Nine days later, on March 24, the Commissioner passed another order annulling his previous order. He said the Chief Engineer of the Major Roads division will certify the quality of work after which the bills will be cleared.

Sources in the BBMP said there was tremendous pressure on Lakshminarayana to withdraw his order of assigning the TVCC to monitor the works. They claimed that the contractors had protested against it, stopped the work and had decided to rake up the pending bills issue.

Although a government subsidiary, the KRIDL has earned a notoriety for executing shoddy work. The KRIDL is a privileged government body, which bypasses the Karnataka Transparency Act (KTA) and does not participate in the tendering process.

It has a poor track record as it had either diverted the funds or did not even execute the work, although it charges at least 11 per cent more than the tender amount.

There are norms for awarding the works to the KRIDL. The rules say that there should be some emergency to assign works bypassing the KTA rules.

A palike officer said if the tender had been floated, the contractor would have charged at least 10 to fifteen per cent less than the tender amount. But awarding works to KRIDL means that the BBMP is willing to pay at least 25 per cent extra.

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