Namma Bengaluru: Big projects that missed deadlines

The BBMP has been seizing plastic material during raids across the city, but implementation of the plastic ban leaves a lot to be desired.

The BBMP has been seizing plastic material during raids across the city, but implementation of the plastic ban leaves a lot to be desired.   | Photo Credit: V Sreenivasa Murthy

In some cases, the delays have resulted in cost escalation

2019 was supposed to see completion and implementation of various projects, programmes and initiatives by various civic agencies, including the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB). However, several projects have missed their deadline. Though the public would ultimately benefit from all the projects, citizens have been inconvenienced due to the delays. The Hindu looks at some of them.

Cauvery water pipeline

The ambitious project of the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) of laying pipelines and supplying Cauvery water to 110 villages located in the periphery of the city in five zones – Mahadevapura, Bommanahalli, Dasarahalli, Yelahanka and Rajarajeshwarinagar – was slated to be completed in 2019.

At a special BBMP council meeting earlier this year, BWSSB Chairman Tushar Girinath had said that the project would likely be completed by May 2019 and water supply would be given soon.

However, BWSSB officials say that the project will not be completed before April 2020.

A senior BWSSB official told The Hindu that the BWSSB is ready to supply water to 59 villages while work related to the remaining 51 villages is almost complete. “Almost 98% of the work is complete. By March-April, we will be able to supply water to all the 110 villages. We have already started supplying water to a few thousand households in a few villages,” he said.

BWSSB officials attributed the delay to a mismatch between funds sought and received. Apart from lack of funds, inadequate men and machinery, constraints on working hours had had a telling impact on the work, officials said.

100% segregation

By November 2019, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) had set a target to achieving 100% segregation of waste at source, and reduce dependence on landfills and quarry pits. The civic body is far from achieving this deadline, as mixed waste from the city continues to be dumped in landfills and quarry pits despite being reprimanded time and again by the Karnataka High Court and National Green Tribunal (NGT).

The Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, mandate waste segregation at source and decentralised processing. The civic body is yet to finalise the garbage tenders that envisage separate collection of wet and dry waste. The tenders that have reached the work order stage are stuck in limbo, with Mayor M. Goutham Kumar now insisting on implementation of the Indore model where different streams of waste are collected together by one contractor.

With this new twist, even senior officials are unsure of the fate of the garbage tenders.

Addressing a special BBMP council meeting in August this year, Subhash B. Adi, head of NGT’s Karnataka chapter, had urged the civic body to not depend on landfills for dumping of mixed waste from November 1.

V. Ramaprasad, waste management expert, told The Hindu that segregation at source was decent and the problem was with the collection process. “Until and unless there are separate vehicles to collect dry and wet waste, this problem will continue to persist,” he said.

Plastic ban

Apart from seizing banned plastic material, the civic body has not been able to completely implement the ban on plastic. Though the Sstate-wide ban came into effect in March 2016, the civic body issued a circular earlier this year stating that it would impose a huge penalty on those found manufacturing, supplying, storing, transporting, selling and distributing, and using the banned item.

Subhash B. Adi, head of NGT’s Karnataka Chapter, had directed the BBMP to ensure 100% implementation of the plastic ban by September 1. However, according to activists and experts, enforcement has been far from satisfactory.

Officials pointed out that the BBMP had been routinely raiding markets and businesses. On Saturday, the BBMP raided the vegetable market in Yeshwantpur and found large scale use of banned plastic covers and imposed a fine of ₹25,000.

Flyovers in limbo

Work on key flyovers – at Ejipura and Shivananda Circle, and adding a loop to the Hebbal flyover – aimed to ease traffic at major bottlenecks, had gone into snooze mode.

Congress MLAs Krishna Byre Gowda and Ramalinga Reddy had alleged that the BJP government had diverted funds earmarked for the Ejipura flyover and Hebbal flyover into constituencies represented by the BJP and earlier by rebel MLAs, leaving key infrastructure projects in limbo. This was a charge that the BJP has denied.

BBMP Commissioner B.H. Anil Kumar stated that work on Hebbal flyover had been stopped to be integrated with the metro line. RITES has submitted the DPR for the same.

In case of the Ejipura flyover, work had stopped due to outstanding bills of over ₹20 crore. Blaming a technical glitch, Mr. Kumar had assured that the work would be completed soon.

When the steel flyover project at Shivananda Circle was announced, there was much hue and cry. The local communities fought against it legally. Eventually, the Supreme Court directed the BBMP to take up work on the flyover. The BBMP was to complete the flyover by July this year. The deadline was later revised to December. The revision of the deadline has led to cost escalation, officials claim.

EV charging stations

By December, the city was to have 112 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, including 12 fast charging stations. The earlier deadline was August. But as the month comes to an end, the charging stations are yet to be thrown open for public use.

Senior officials in Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) claim that installation and testing have been completed, but the power utility has not been able to allow the public to use the facility. The delay is being attributed to the code of conduct that was in place for the recently held bypolls, problems in finding ideal locations for 100 charging stations across the city and the time taken for testing.

The idea was to have charging stations every 5 km. However, since suitable locations were difficult to find, Bescom decided to set up the 100 stations in government owned premises, such as Bescom offices, parking spaces in Traffic and Transit Management Centres (TTMC), complexes and buildings owned by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).

Bescom is now in the process of developing a mobile application for easily locating the charging stations and to enable payments for charging.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 7:40:36 AM |

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