Enquiry ordered into cost escalation of MSCL’s projects

Monumental folly: The cost of Clock tower project, escalated from Rs 90 lakh to Rs one crore.

Dakshina Kannada MP Nalin Kumar Kateel directed Mescom Managing Director Snehal Rayamane, who also holds additional charge as MD of Mangaluru Smart City Limited (MSCL), to conduct an enquiry into the cost escalation of projects being implemented under Smart Cities Mission in and around the city.

“The officials have kept us in dark about the projects,” he fumed while presiding over the  District Development Coordination and Monitoring Committee (DDCMC) meeting held at Netravathy Hall on the Zilla Panchayat premises on Thursday.

He said the funds released for the projects by the Centre were not meant to be misappropriated as they were tax-payers’ money.

Traffic chaos

When officials informed that the Clock Tower project, estimated at Rs 90 lakh, would be completed at a cost of Rs one crore, Kateel said the tower project once completed would only cause traffic chaos.

Officials informed that 22 bus stands were completed each at a cost of Rs 15 lakh. Two more bus stands with e-toilets were planned near Circuit House and Pachhanady at a total cost of Rs 40 lakh.

MP said bus stand of similar design were built in New Delhi at a cost of Rs six lakh. Brushing aside their justification, he observed that the phenomenal cost per sqft for the new bus stand, which was Rs 2,500, would not be found anywhere in the world. Ordering an immediate end on the construction of such bus stops, he directed MD to re-look into the necessity of such bus stands.

MP was horrified to learn that an amount of Rs 6 crore was spent on redesigning 300 mts of a stretch from old Clock Tower to A B Shetty Circle.

Kateel found that money to the tune of Rs 55 core was sanctioned for implementing missing links in underground drainage works on Arya Samaj and Nellikai Road under both Amruth scheme and Smart City Mission.

Accountability

He directed MSCL not to release money for UGD works implemented already under the Amruth scheme. Kateel warned that both MD and officials would be held accountable if funds were misappropriated in remaining projects like multi-level parking, bus stand near Mahaveer Circle, smart roads, international swimming pool, ring road around the Mangalore Railway Junction.

Additional Deputy Commissioner M J Roopa, DK Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer (CEO) R Selvamani among others were also present on the occasion.

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