Blunder corridor

In what could be termed the harshest indictment of the Bus Rapid Transit Corridor project so far, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India in its report said it was an ill-conceived plan that was still faulty, Anuradha Mukherjee.
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Updated on Feb 25, 2009 11:21 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByAnuradha Mukherjee, New Delhi

In what could be termed the harshest indictment of the Bus Rapid Transit Corridor project so far, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India in its report said it was an ill-conceived plan that was still faulty.

“BRT corridor would make the existing road much smaller for all kinds of vehicles other than buses. No study was carried out regarding the congestion problem that such restricted space would entail,” the CAG report said. It points out that one-third of the road space was designated for buses which was only 2.5 per cent of the traffic.

The report also comments on the ad-hocism displayed by the government in changing the designs midway, without really studying the impact it had on traffic flow.

The bus lane and Q-shelters were supposed to be in the middle of the BRT, but after experiencing congestion during the trial run, the bus lane was shifted to the left side of the road beyond Defence Colony.

“The present design is not free from infirmities as the same route will now have three forms of traffic design,” it said.

The report also points out how expenses shot up by Rs 4.9 crore because of the decision to use concrete on a 3-km stretch between Ambedkar Nagar and Chirag Dilli.

It cited the minutes of an expenditure finance committee meeting held on December 25, 2008, in which the PWD chief engineer had said that even in countries like Indonesia and China rigid pavements were not created. Concrete cost the government Rs 2320 per square metre, while bituminous paving cost Rs 1608 per square metre.

The CAG report said the government put the inexperienced transport department at the helm of affair, whereas upkeep and construction of roads was clearly the public works department’s area. Keeping the PWD out of the project would “pose serious maintenance problems in future”.

The government also failed to consult experts specialising in the area, the report said. It said the government chose to go by the advice of a group of experts from IIT, while it could have consulted transport planners like the Central Road Research Institute and the School of Planning and Architecture.

The report points out two consultants — RITES and DIMTS — were hired, but their areas of operation overlapped. Both the consultants were released funds far in excess of the requirement which the government could have earned interest on.

“Out of Rs 100.33 crore released to DIMTS during October 2006 to October 2007, DIMTS released only Rs 48 crore during August 2007 to May 2008.

Funds ranging from Rs 10 crore to Rs 90.33 crore were lying with DIMTS from 7 days to 7 months 2 days in excess of the requirement,” the report said.

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