'Procedural lapses led to duplication of road work'

'Procedural lapses led to duplication of road work'

Bangalore Mahanagara Palike Commissioner M Lakshminarayana on Thursday admitted that 'some procedural lapses' led to the confusion over duplication of road laying works in Gandhinagar Assembly constituency.

Refuting media reports on the issue, Lakshminarayana said: “Till today, not a single rupee has been paid for the works carried out earlier this year. The engineers executed the work four months ago without seeking my approval, which is mandatory for any works of less than Rs 50 lakh. Now that they have sought my approval, it created an impression of duplication of works,” he claimed.

His reaction came following Yediyur corporator N R Ramesh's allegation two days ago that bills have been submitted afresh for the works which were completed three months ago.

Citing a report prepared by the Technical Vigilance Cell Under Commissioner (TVCC), he had alleged that the Minister of State for Food and Civil Supplies Dinesh Gundu Rao has been pressuring the BBMP authorities to pass the bill 'twice'. The allegation brought the focus back on the Gandhinagar constituency where a fake bill scam had surfaced three years ago.

Lakshminarayana said these works were frozen last year by the then Commissioner Siddaiah since the Assembly elections were in progress. Once the elections were over the works were started again in view of monsoon damaging the City roads, he said adding that Dinesh Gundu Rao had requested to accomplish the work. Against the action plan prepared by the engineers, Rs 4.33 crore were sanctioned.

HC order violated

The engineers carried out the work based on the 'Letter of Intent', a procedure banned by the Karnataka High Court about six years ago. But the Commissioner was categorical: “These are small procedural lapses. The engineers should not have carried out work on the basis of letter of intent. Also, they had not sought my approval before entrusting the work to the Karnataka Rural Infrastructure Development Limited (KRIDL) based on the letter of intent, only to speed up the work.”

Another lapse was that the engineers did not seek the approval of the BBMP's Standing Committee for ward-wise works. He admitted that of the nine road laying works, one was of inferior quality and a notice has been served KRIDL.

“I want to clarify that there is no criminality involved,” said Lakshminarayana. When asked whether violation of High Court order did not amount to the 'contempt of court', he said he was not a judge to make any statement.

The commissioner said he would have entrusted the matter to the Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force (BMTF) as his predecessor Siddaiah did in 2011, had he not gone through the files properly.

He said he has served notices on the engineers and would take suitable action based on their statement.

Road history

Rocked by the allegations, the BBMP has decided to work on Geographical Information System (GIS) based Road History.

In this regard, the BBMP has set up a Road History Cell where all the road-related data would be fed in the online based application.

Lakshminarayana said, “Before launching road history we need to prepare Road Data. Once the data is ready, it would be sent to the Road History Cell. We have shortage of staff in the Cell.  As engineers alone cannot do it, we need other staff also. To start with we are taking up major roads in the City. Gradually we will prepare ward-wise road data.”

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