‘Blunder to rebuild Clock Tower in present location’

‘Blunder to rebuild Clock Tower in present location’

The Mangalore Smart City Limited (MSCL) had bypassed its project management consultant (PMC) and outsourced the building concept and design.

The move was taken in a hurry to implement the Clock Tower Circle at the original place, where the heritage clock tower had stood till 1994. The outsourcing was done to city-based Infrastructure Development Foundation (IDF).

“The step was taken Although Wadia Techno Engineering Services Limited has been engaged as consultant for MSCL,’’ informs consulting engineer and Aam Admi Party (AAP) Dakshina Kannada district convenor K P Rajendra Kumar, who obtained the information under RTI.

Initial plan

The information also revealed that the Clock Tower was initially planned in the park located next to the Town Hall.

“Interestingly, the tenders were floated for the project even before the design was submitted,’’ informs Rajendra.

IDF Consultant Dharmaraj, when contacted, confirmed that the Clock Tower was initially planned within the park. Years ago, at the request of the Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC), he had submitted two designs representing the Clock Tower in colonial and traditional architectures.

MCC decision

“A design depicting the Clock Tower in traditional architecture was selected but the project was kept in abeyance due to lack of funds. Then City Corporation Mayor Kavitha Sanil and Commissioner Mohammed Nazir decided to implement Clock Tower project under the Smart City mission. During the inspection of spot, it was MCC Commissioner Nazir who insisted on relocating the Clock Tower as it would not be visible from the park,’’ he said.

“In the presence of the MCC’s Standing Committee on works chairman Abdul Rauf, Corporator Sashidar Hegde and engineers, I had literally begged that the tower in its present location was a blunder. When the commissioner did not budge, as a consultant I had to remodel the tower as according to the client’s demands,” he said and added that the circle facilitating self-disciplined traffic movement would pose problems in future.

Underground passes

Rajendra says MSCL, in its letter dated July 31, 2018, addressed to him, had revealed that two underground passes would be constructed near the Clock Tower circle on Nehru Maidan Road and on Bibi Alabi Road, keeping passenger safety in mind. On fears that the Clock Tower would cause traffic snarls, MSCL in-charge managing director hoped that vehicle density would be reduced once the proposed bus stand near Mahaveer Circle became a reality.

Rajendra reveals that a proposal on fixing convex mirrors at his own cost to prevent accidents near Paldane Church had been pending for two years on the grounds that it required permission from police.

“The letter from MSCL reveals that no such permission from the police was obtained for implementing the Clock Tower circle project. MSCL, which claims to have done traffic intensity and pedestrian surveys, however, failed to produce copies of reports,’’ Rajendra informs.

MCC asked to speed up project

The corporators had demanded the MCC commissioner to give reason for the work to move at a snail’s pace at a recent MCC Council meeting.

DCP (Crime and Traffic) Uma Prashanth did not respond to attempts to contact.

Sources in the Traffic Department, however, confirmed that a letter had been written from the office of the DCP to the City Corporation asking for expedition of the work on the Clock Tower Circle for easier movement of traffic in the area.