Report sought on the negligible progress of the project

The much-anticipated Karnataka State Highway Improvement Project (KSHIP) 2 taken up for upgrading 269 km of roads across the State under the World Bank funding has come under scrutiny.

While Public Works Department Principal Secretary has sought a report from the KSHIP authorities on the negligible progress of the project so far, the KSHIP officials insist that the project is on scheduled.

In a communiqué to the KSHIP Project Director recently, the PWD Principal Secretary has pointed out at very lowly 1.59 per cent progress, and has sought an explanation to the negligible progress of the project. It is also learnt that the KSHIP authorities held a round of meetings with the top management of the contracting firms that are executing the project, to hasten the work.

KSHIP 2 involves upgrading of State Highway 82— Hoskote to Chintamani bypass (52.40 km); State Highway 1 and 2 — Haveri to Tadasa (75.26 km); State Highway 34 — Dharwad to Saundatti (38.50 km); State Highway 61 and 15 — Tinthini to Kalmala (73.80 km) and State Highway 22 — Chowdapur to Gulbarga (28.63 km.)

This project attracted quite a few international players to the bidding process. Manual bidding process had been resorted to as online software for e-tendering was not ready. Besides, the bids had been opened with police security, as some contractors had received threatening calls.

Lower bids

Not only this, the bids were almost 20 per cent lower. As against the estimated Rs. 657.83 crore, the bids received were at Rs. 526.92 crore, saving the Government about Rs. 131 crore.

Acknowledging that a letter seeking explanation had come from the PWD, the KSHIP Project Director Prakash Kumar told The Hindu that there had been no delay in the progress of the project. “In fact, we gave the contractors 5 per cent mobilisation advance only in the first week of August and it would normally take a couple of months for them to mobilise logistics and start the work.”

Further, he said that the agreements were signed between KSHIP and contractors in April and commencement date (the actual date for starting the project) has been given in July/ August.

“In several places, the contractors have already started the preliminary work like erecting sheds, survey work and others,” he said and added that all these have been highlighted in the report submitted to the Principal Secretary's office.

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