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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

City's development at halt as building materials cost sky-high

Navrajdeep Singh , Hindustan Times  Patiala, November 04, 2013
First Published: 22:15 IST(4/11/2013) | Last Updated: 22:26 IST(4/11/2013)

Even after a month of spending crores of rupees for developmental works, no major project has been initiated in the royal city till date.

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Due to increased prices and shortage of building material, development work across Patiala has come to a standstill causing problem for the city residents.

Despite having adequate funds in their kitties, Improvement Trust (IT) and Patiala Municipal Corporation (PMC), besides government contractors, even the private contractors are reluctant to carry out any work.

Contractors are not applying even though both IT and PMC had floated tenders several times to allot development projects to contractors for past one month.

With hardly any contractor, apart from temporary patch work on different roads, no big project has been started and the dilapidated roads continue to slow down traffic and bring misery to city dwellers.

Even civic body authorities are facing awkward situation as despite passing work orders, they have failed to kick-off any developmental project.

With contractor crunch, more problems MC may face more trouble as construction of roads won't be carried out from December.

Sources said IT authorities have floated tenders for construction of Badunger Colony to Government Medical College road, Gurbaksh Colony road and Chotti Naddi road but failed to get any applications from contractors.

Commuters struggle to ply vehicles on the cratered two-km stretch from Badunger Colony to Khalsa College and medical college.

"The construction of the roads has been stalled as we have failed to find any contractor to carry out the work. Our previous attempts of inviting tenders in last month proved unsuccessful. We have floated tenders again and hopeful to get contractors this time as we are ready to work upon the conditions of the contractors," said EXN Improvement Trust Hansraj Sharma.

However, in last general assembly elections, MC authorities had given nod to start the work worth `10 crore.  It also has Rs. 14 crore in its coffers, provided by the state government 18 months ago for construction of roads in areas where new sewer lines had been laid then.

"Due to exorbitant prices of building materials, including sand, gravel and bricks we are unable to start any work. Moreover, despite repeated demand, the authority has failed to include escalation clause in the contract in case actual cost increases than estimated cost during ongoing development work", said one of the contractors.

The Prices

Prices of sand and gravel have increased to 40% in past four months.
Before strictness on mining sand was available at Rs. 15-18 per square ft but now costs increased to around Rs. 30-37 per square ft.

Price of gravel has increased from Rs. 38-43 per square ft against earlier price of `30-35 per square ft.

The price of bricks (A grade) has shoot up from Rs. 3.50 to Rs. 4 per brick piece to Rs. 5 to 5.5, while B grade variety's cost has increased from Rs. 3.25- Rs. 3.50.

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