Contractor fined for delay but not blacklisted: BBMP official
At long last, the Kadirenahalli underpass may be thrown open to traffic from May 15. The underpass connects densely populated areas in Bangalore south, including Banashankari, Jayanagar, J.P. Nagar and Kumaraswamy Layout.
Construction, taken up in March 2008 at Rs. 28.72 crore, was to be completed in 10 months. Many deadlines later, the project is yet to be completed, causing the partial closure of Outer Ring Road at Kadirenahalli Cross for four years now.
Host of problems
One of the project supervisors, who didn't want to be named, attributed the delays to problems in land acquisition. Rocks on the site didn't help matters either. Also, residents of the area did not cooperate for the construction of service roads. “All hurdles have now been cleared. We are sure of completing construction of service roads by this month-end.”
One side of the underpass is almost complete. However, the other stretch towards Padmanabhanagar is not yet ready. With the construction dragging on for years, residents use the site to empty their garbage, said an annoyed M. Venkata Ramanaswamy, a department store owner, adding that this has hit his business.
On their part, residents were very vocal about commuting difficulties and lack of water supply. One of them, Venkatesh, said waterlines were damaged when the rocks were blasted. “We had to walk quite a distance to get drinking water. Only recently was some alternative arrangement made,” he said.
Banashankari Temple Ward Councillor A.H. Basavaraju said he wrote to the former Mayor Sharadamma three months ago recommending action against BBMP's jurisdictional Executive Engineer and Assistant Executive Engineer for the inordinate delay in the underpass construction. “But no action was initiated against them. They have failed to pressure the contractors to complete the project,” he said.
Meanwhile, a senior BBMP official claimed that the service roads would be ready by this month-end, while the underpass will open to traffic on May 15. Blaming the contractor for the delay, the official said the BBMP had already levied a fine of Rs. 80 lakh on the agency.
“The contractor failed to plan and mobilise the necessary men and machinery to complete the underpass in time.” Asked why the BBMP did not blacklist the contractor despite recommendations by city in-charge Minister R. Ashok and former Mayors, the official said had it done so, it would have further stalled the project.