With monsoon coming, Patiala MC’s road spruce-up plan to go for a toss

  • Vivek Gupta, Hindustan Times, Patiala
  • Updated: May 20, 2016 16:17 IST
The delay in execution of works for development of city’s road infrastructure is a clear sign of poor performance on the part of Patiala municipal corporation. (HT Photo)

With only 12 out of the 150 road works having begun so far, the development of city’s road infrastructure, for which Rs 30-crore grants was sanctioned in February, and the works for which were supposed to be completed before the advent of monsoons, is sure to miss it’s deadline. With arrival of the monsoons, which is not very far, the work, which has already started on 12 roads, will also come to a standstill, causing inconvenience to the commuters.

Meanwhile, with the seasonal rainfall likely to start next month, the roads of poor quality will not only hold water during monsoon, creating puddles and water logging, but also cause traffic jams.

The delay in execution is a clear sign of MC’s poor performance. For instance, out of 150 works, work orders of 60 road works were successfully awarded to 15 contractors earlier this month.

But five of them who were given the responsibility to execute nearly 40 road works, refused to start the construction due to their pending payment from old projects.

Even as the MC has already issued them the showcause notice twice in the past week, there seems no headway in the execution of work. As a result, the much-needed development has literally come to a standstill and the road construction is set to linger to October-November. It may even get delayed further, considering the possibility of strong monsoon this year.

Mayor Amarinder Singh Bajaj said the administration must take all the possible action against these contractors who refused to work even after taking the work orders.

Those who refused to work include Bharat Construction Company Chandok Builders, Ghuman Nagar co-operative society, Tripata co-operative society and York Builders.

90 road works mired amid contractors’ infighting

The execution of rest of 90 road works continues to be affected by the infighting among different contractors. For instance, New Janta Co-operative Society recently got a stay order from Punjab and Haryana High court against the execution of 30 road works, citing that contract awarded to Sundar Construction Co-operative Society for these works was against the rules, as the firm was blacklisted in the past. The matter is subjudice and would come up for hearing on May 25.

Meanwhile, for the rest 60 road works, the MC failed to get competitive bids from the contractors despite floating repeated tenders thrice.

Speaking about the issue, the mayor said they have managed to get competitive bids for half of the work, which would be cleared in finance and contract committee meeting on Friday. He said, “The onus of execution of work is on the MC officials. They must be put to task if they don’t ensure its proper execution.”

Meanwhile, attacking the SAD-ruled MC, Congress leader Sanjeev Bittu said the so called development plan by the ruling government has become the victim of self-interest of their own people. “In bid to secure orders for their favourite contractors, they have put the city’s development on hold,” he alleged.

He said the city’s road infrastructure has been in poor state for the last 4-5 years, and despite the funds in hands, they could not spend the money. “People will definitely teach them a lesson in the coming assembly elections,” he added.

Sanction for other projects still awaited

Besides these works, the MC had also submitted proposals of 70 road works worth of Rs 14 crore. Since the technical committee of the local government department is yet to clear the project, it seems unlikely that these projects will be executed in the near future.

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