STATE’S PROJECTS worth nearly Rs 2778 crore for civic transformation are awaiting suitable contractors. The projects under the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Mission Reconstruction Mission (JNNURM) are too ambitious for petty contractors, and big contractors are preoccupied with big projects in bigger towns.
“Infrastructure boom in recent times has ensured that big and medium-level contractors have their hands full. So, it is really tough to get good contractors to execute big projects of civic corporations (under ADB and JNNURM projects),” admits Commissioner, Urban Administration and Development, Malay Shrivastava.
He told Hindustan Times that for the MP Urban (ADB) project, a team of contractors at national-level had been pre-qualified about two years ago. Now most of them have walked off.
Faced with this peculiar problem, the Urban Administration and Development Department and municipal corporations are busy devising methods to implement the projects that they have been assigned under the two schemes.
The most formidable challenge they have to tackle are lack of manpower, poor technical competence and hurdles posed by existing laws and policies.
The ADB projects in four cities are worth about Rs 1368 crore while under the JNNURM four civic bodies have already bagged projects worth Rs 1410 crore.
MP is the first state to get the projects implemented through municipal corporations. The idea was to instill in the civic bodies a sense of belonging to the projects so that maintenance and operation at later stages are carried out more effectively by their manpower.
Shrivastava mentioned that his department has taken steps in consultation with the ADB to make tendering system more liberal (doing away with pre-qualification) and clubbing various small projects into a single big bid. He expressed hope that this device would take care of the problem.
Speaking at the concluding session of the two-day State-Level Review Meeting organised at the Hotel Lake View Ashok to review the progress of the projects, Malay Shrivastava said steps are being taken to make necessary changes at policy level to facilitate smooth implementation of the projects.
He lauded the municipal officials in the project cities – Bhopal, Indore and Jabalpur (both ADB and JNNURM projects), Gwalior (JNNURM) and Ujjain (ADB project) for gearing up to face the challenges and take steps to resolve them.
He also directed that review meetings at the municipal level be held every fortnight. The next State-level review meeting would be held in March, he said.
Project director of ADB Hari Ranjan Rao mentioned that during the workshop the successful models of other states were discussed.