Projects worth Rs. 16 crore yet to begin as contractor waits for money

There is no gainsaying the fact that the BJP-ruled Mangalore City Corporation, helped by special grants from the State government, concreted several roads and made them pothole-free in the last five years. Launching of the project to construct second vented dam to augment city’s water supply and the latest door-to-door collection of garbage are some of the other positives for the civic body.

But with the announcement of elections to civic bodies, Mangalore City Corporation appears to have put a stop on development projects, including ongoing ones.

This is likely to delay construction of pavements and storm-water drains on major roads which were concreted two years ago. The promise of two key “model roads” may also be just that, a promise. The work is running behind schedule.

The extra-cautious Mangalore City Corporation has resorted to stop all work to avoid being questioned for violation of the model code of conduct though it does not apply to ongoing projects. With the elections to the Assembly round the corner, one wonders if citizens will have to bear with added delay in undertaking or completing the ongoing projects. “There are few chances of taking up the work till completion of Assembly elections, which might be announced anytime,” a corporation official conceded.

Lack of planning

Lack of pavements and storm-water drains along the much-hyped concretised roads has come for sharp criticism from people. “Authorities went ahead with concreting roads without putting a thought to pavements and storm water drains, which is an integral part of any road network. People have to suffer for the lack of proper planning and execution,” said Prakash Bhat, an RTI activist.

Mr. Bhat pointed out the difficulty faced by people using K.S. Rao Road and Car Street. “Road has been widened end-to-end leaving hardly any space for pedestrians on either side. We continue to walk on the road at the risk of being hit by vehicles,” he said.

Ends with foundation

It was in 2010 that the Mangalore City Corporation finished concreting major roads in the city without making provisions for pavements and storm-water drains. In September 2012, Deputy Speaker and Mangalore South MLA N. Yogish Bhat laid foundation for constructing storm-water drains between Rao and Rao Circle and Clock Tower; Mangalore Central Railway and Nandigudda Circle; and between A.B. Shetty Circle and Subash Nagar Junction (one side). These three projects were entrusted to the Dakshina Kannada Nirmiti Kendra. But there is no action on the ground.

Further, the corporation has entrusted the Kendra with more work of laying storm-water drains and pavements: between KSRTC Junction and Kuntikana Junction (either side of the road); from Mangalore Central Railway Station and Nandigudda Circle (another side); on one side of Kadri Kambla Road; from Bunts’ Hostel Circle to Mallikatta Junction; from Shivbagh Junction to Horticulture Junction.

The story is the same: All these projects — estimated to cost MCC Rs. 16 crore — have not been taken up as the corporation is yet sanction money to the Kendra.

Zero activity

There is no semblance of activity on the model roads that the corporation had planned to lay between Kudroli Temple and New Chitra Cinema; and between Srinivasa College, Pandeshwara, and Ramakrishna Mission. Better quality of roads, including well-laid pavements, was promised. The projects were supposed to begin last month.

The two model new concrete roads were supposed to come up under the Tender SURE (Specification for Urban Road Execution) format. The cost of laying the road between Kudroli Temple and New Chitra Cinema was estimated at Rs. 11.5 crore; and the road between Srinivasa College Pandeshwar and Ramakrishna Mission was estimated at Rs. 4.5 crore. Mangalore City Corporation Commissioner Harish Kumar told in a press conference in December 2012 that this work will begin in another 45 days.

No activity is seen at least between Srinivasa College and Ramakrisha Mission. To make matters worse, at a few places between Kudroli Temple and New Chitra Cinema, stone slabs covering roadside drains have been removed and are placed such that they have been causing inconvenience to pedestrians.

A senior MCC official said tenders have been called for the two roads. “Further process has been stopped because of the election code of conduct,” the official said.

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