Project deadlines advanced in B'luru with eye on elections

Deadlines for a number of infrastructure projects, including road improvement works, in Bengaluru have been advanced by at least a couple of months to help Chief Minister Siddaramaiah score some brownie points ahead of Assembly polls.

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is projecting a December or early January completion for ongoing improvement of arterial roads all over the city under the Nagarothana scheme.

These works are formally scheduled for completion in April or May 2018, according to the latest progress reports DH has accessed.

Accordingly, a total of 442 projects, currently under way, at a cost of Rs 775 crore will be ready just before the Assembly elections are announced. The ruling Congress is pinning hopes on the city's civic body to deliver fast so as to salvage its urban image, which has taken a beating thanks to the recent floods and potholes.

Sample this: The stipulated completion of drain, footpath and road improvements works worth Rs 79 crore in the east zone is April-May 2018. This includes works in areas such as Sanjaynagar, RT Nagar, Richards Park, Indiranagar, Hennur, Benson Town among others. The works are now slated to finish in December.

Surprisingly, a lot of the works whose deadlines have been advanced are far from over, showing a progress ranging from just 10-50%.

The Bommanahalli zone, for example, has works worth Rs 57 crore stipulated to be done by November-December. They are chugging along with only 30-60% work over. The most worrying progress is in Rajarajeshwari Nagar, where works scheduled to ready by September and mid-October are still in progress.

BBMP Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad, however, is confident of finishing work on time. "A majority of works are just drain improvements and asphalting of roads. The stipulated time of completion may be longer, but it really doesn't need that much time," he said. "Work progress is being reviewed zone-wise to speed things up."

With deadlines advanced, Prasad ruled out the possibility of quality of the civic works being compromised. "If works are not qualitative, we won't clear the bills. Also, there's a three-year liability on contractors. So they can't get away."

The civic body is also racing against time to finish concreting 93 km of roads at a cost of about Rs 1,000 crore. "We can do up to 2-3 km a day," Prasad pointed out.

At least five infrastructure projects are lined up for Siddaramaiah to inaugurate early next year. These include the Delmia Junction flyover (Rs 26 crore), eight-lane Okalipuram corridor (Rs 300 crore), Basaveshwaranagar and Manjunath Nagar flyovers (Rs 90 crore), Church Street TenderSURE (Rs 12 crore) and the multi-level car parking at Freedom Park (Rs 79 crore).

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