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Former mayor alleges scam in drain remodelling

Staff Reporter
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Ramesh sees scam in multi-crore contract where costs tripled

Accusing the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) of literally flushing crores of rupees down the drain, former mayor P.R. Ramesh has demanded an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the “scam”.

Addressing presspersons here, Mr. Ramesh said funds to the tune of Rs. 403.87 crore had been spent on “remodelling of primary and secondary drains” in the city, which is still far from being completed.

Costs triple

Mr. Ramesh alleged that the plans had remained on paper though the project cost had escalated from Rs. 350 crore to Rs. 925 crore. Had the drains indeed been remodelled, the city would not have been flooded after a short spell of heavy rain last week.

The project to remodel 183 km of primary and secondary drains was proposed in 2004. The Government approved the project and work orders for the 12 packages were issued in 2005. In December 2006, the cost was upped to Rs. 643.06 crore and incorporated under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) projects. The same contractors, who were awarded the work orders in 2005 and mandated to complete it within 18 months, were allowed to continue without following due procedure of law, he said.

In November 2008, a statement submitted to JNNURM's Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee (CSMC) claimed that around 40 per cent of remodelling work of the drains in the four valleys (Hebbal, Vrushabhavati, Koramangala and Challaghatta) had been completed. This, two years after the project was taken up.

Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, in response to question posed by George K.J. in the Assembly, had blamed the contractors for the delay. Following this, notices were issued and the contractors fined. Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar had raised questions about removing of silt from the drains. “The civic body had claimed that 15 lakh cubic metres of silt had been removed. This would mean 1.4 lakh lorry loads. The civic body had spent Rs. 30 crore on this. A complaint was filed with the Lokayukta in this regard,” Mr. Ramesh added.

Same contractors

On March 15, 2011, the project to remodel 183 km of drains was once again revised and the cost was enhanced to Rs. 925 crore. “Once again, the same contractors have been asked to carry out the work within a year. The cost increase should have been brought in the public domain, which is mandatory as per JNNURM regulations. It has been five years since the project was first taken up and yet it has not been completed,” Mr. Ramesh said.

He demanded a CBI inquiry and said that he would soon write to the Prime Minister, Union Minister for Urban Development and Union Minister for Law and Justice.

Former mayors K.H.N. Simha, Lakkanna and J. Huchappa were present.

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