Suvarna Soudha cost doubles in 14 months

Escalation is attributed to creation of new facilities in the building

Suvarna Soudha cost doubles in  14 months

  Work in progress on Suvarna Soudha in Belgaum. dh photoHowever, the estimated construction cost of Suvarna Soudha, the secretariat building, has almost doubled.

When the Government awarded the contract to construct Suvarna Soudha in July 2009, the project was estimated to cost Rs 230 crore, including the land acquisition cost. But in a span of just 14 months, the cost has shot up to Rs 410 crore. The cost escalation is despite the work progressing as per the schedule. The project is scheduled to be completed by January 2011.

The second secretariat building, which is coming up at Halaga Bastavad village on the outskirts of Belgaum, will be holding the winter session of the State Legislature. So far, the State government has held two Legislature sessions in Belgaum - in 2006 and 2008 - at the KLE Medical College. The objective is to assert that Belgaum is an integral part of Karnataka.

On escalation of cost, PWD Executive Engineer (Belgaum) C R Bellary said the Detailed Project Report (DPR) that was prepared initially did not include cost for providing amenities like power, water, landscaping, installation of CCTVs, elevators, furnishing and external lighting. Hence, escalation of the project cost.

Contract for construction of Suvarna Soudha has been awarded to a Pune-based B G Shirke Construction Technology, the same company that constructed Vikas Soudha building in Bangalore.

As per the plan, Suvarna Soudha will have ground plus five floors with a total built-up area of 52,624 sqm. The building will comprise an Assembly Hall, a Council Hall, a Conference Hall with a seating capacity for 300 members, a Banquet hall (akin to the Hall in Vidhana Soudha), Central Hall with a seating capacity for 450 members (on the lines of the Hall in Parliament), Cabinet Hall and office rooms to house chief minister and ministers.

Construction of Assembly, Council and Cabinet Halls are almost complete and will be ready to hold the session in December this year. The contractor has been directed to install an elevator by December for the proposed session.

Of no use

According to official sources, the Central Hall with a seating Capacity for 450 members will be of little use for the State Legislature, as both the Houses (the Assembly and the Council) hardly meet together. A joint session is held only during the first session of the year, when the Governor address both the Houses. Construction of the Central Hall thus amounts to mere waste of crores of rupees.

The officers further stated that it was surprising that the Detailed Project Report of Suvarna Soudha deals only with structure and does not include provision for amenities.

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