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As polls near, BBMP seeks Rs 1,450 cr for white-topping

The civic body has already spent Rs 1,676 crore on building 136 km of concrete roads in the first two phases
Last Updated : 09 October 2022, 23:32 IST
Last Updated : 09 October 2022, 23:32 IST
Last Updated : 09 October 2022, 23:32 IST
Last Updated : 09 October 2022, 23:32 IST

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Nearly three years after scrapping the third phase of the white-topping project, the BBMP has sought to concretise new roads at a whopping cost of Rs 1,450 crore, an increase of Rs 450 crore from the previously estimated cost.

The civic body has already spent Rs 1,676 crore on building 136 km of concrete roads in the first two phases.

The third phase comes just months before the state Assembly elections. Questions are also being asked about the utility of white-topping which does not increase the carrying capacity of the road.

In a letter to the Urban Development Department (UDD) on September 17, 2022, BBMP Chief Commissioner Tushar Girinath referred to the action plan of 2019 that had proposed to concretise 89 roads in six different packages.

While the first package was dropped, funds allotted for the remaining five packages were withdrawn after the change of government in Karnataka that year.

Fresh grant

The BBMP's letter seeking Rs 1,450 crore indicates that it is keen to take up the third phase by dropping some roads that were part of the previous action plan. The letter recommends discarding the old proposal, for which tenders were finalised when H D Kumaraswamy was the chief minister.

The BBMP now wants to prepare a new detailed project report (DPR) and invite fresh tenders.

"Some roads identified for white-topping in the 2019 action plan have been asphalted recently. Those roads currently fall under the defect liability period. A massive design change needed to be incorporated in the new set of white-topped roads," the letter states.

Citing the recent revision of the Scheduled Rate (SR), which is fixed for every piece of public work, the letter estimates the cost of the new proposal at Rs 1,450 crore.

A senior official said 150 km of roads were identified in the new proposal. "A majority of these roads fall in the high-density corridors such as Ballari Road, Kanakapura Road, Old Madras Road, etc," he said.

Urbanist Ashwin Mahesh said the solution to Bengaluru's traffic problem lay not in roads but in doubling the fleet of BMTC buses and building at least 1,500 km of walkable footpaths.

"The BBMP considered only the asphalted portion as the road. A comprehensive solution, whether it is fixing the pathways or providing space for utility lines, is missing in the design," he said. He also pointed out that white-topping is being done without milling the road.

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Published 09 October 2022, 18:50 IST

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