More than six months ago, the State government approved an action plan for infrastructure development works of Mangalore City Corporation proposed to be carried out with the second instalment of the special grant (Rs. 100 crore) sanctioned to the civic body.

Although the plan was approved on February 23, 2011, the corporation has not started any work under the special grant. The delay, it is alleged, is due to lack of political will on the part of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the council to pursue the matter with the government in getting the necessary sanction. The corporation needs to obtain administrative and technical sanction to specific works, official sources in the corporation told The Hindu.

As a result, important works such as building new concrete roads and building drains and pavements along concrete roads already completed have not begun, sources say. Some senior BJP councillors have also expressed resentment. They told The Hindu that implementation of the listed projects required constant follow-up of specific proposals sent to the government for getting post-action plan approvals. Unless they were pursued with the government, files will remain with the Department of Municipal Administration (DMA).

Sources say the corporation has sent 14 proposals involving concretising roads to the Department of Municipal Administration's approval. It may take four more months to take up those works as the department has cited procedural lapses in the proposals. A team of officials led by a Superintending Engineer from the department was here on Monday and Tuesday to discuss certain issues with the corporation authorities.

Sources say the department wanted to know if the roads selected for concretisation had enough traffic density. But the corporation officials insisted that that should not be the criterion for granting permission. The officials of the civic body insisted that the corporation is upgrading 14 main roads as concrete roads considering heavy rain factor.

Sources say the construction of drains and pavements along the concrete roads laid under the first instalment of Rs. 100 crore will be delayed. The corporation is yet to get sanctions for those works.

However, Premananda Shetty, Chairman, Standing Committee for Town Planning and Improvement in the corporation, told The Hindu that there was no need to attach special importance to the visit of the official.

He agrees that there have been some lapses on the part of corporation officials while sending the proposals. One of the issues pertains to the thickness of the concrete and traffic density on those roads. All issues have been discussed and sorted out. The officials have given some suggestions and he is hopeful that the proposal will be approved in a fortnight. Mr. Shetty says all new road works and works on constructing drains and pavements will start in the next 75 days.Official sources say the civic body has proposed asphalting 40 interior roads in the city. Contractors for these works have been chosen and work orders issued. The works will start once rains stop.

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