Pune’s civic funds wasted as Rs.17-crore Intelligent traffic system rots at Swargate
The equipment purchased from the Kerala government undertaking, has been under lock and key following a dispute between PMC and Keltron over the last seven to eight yearspune Updated: Sep 10, 2017 17:19 IST
Civic funds to the tune of Rs.17 crore have been wasted with an Intelligent Traffic System, purchased by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) in 2009-2010 from Keltron, lying in a state of complete disuse in a locked room at the Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj parking lot in Swargate.
The equipment purchased from the Kerala government undertaking, has been under lock and key following a dispute between PMC and Keltron over the last seven to eight years.
The ‘Intelligent Traffic System’ project involved a central control room which was located at Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj parking lot in Swargate. It received feed from 120 CCTV cameras. Of the 120 cameras, 70 cameras could pan, tilt and zoom (PTZ) in various directions, 40 were for RVDS (red-light violation detection system) and 10 cameras were to monitor SVDS (speed violation detection system), according to Srinivas Bonala, the PMC official who was heading the project in its initial stage.
This entire investment has now gone waste.
PMC had received five respondents to their tender, out of which, Keltron was awarded the project worth Rs.16.99 crore, according to a PMC employee who worked closely with the project. The amount consisted of the project cost as well as the maintenance cost which was to be paid over a period of five years.
PMC tried to introduce the system to bring in traffic management and discipline and levy a charge of Rs.200 for two-wheeler violators and Rs.500 for four-wheeler violators as a special charge. The proposal was presented and rejected by the concerned PMC authority twice before it was accepted. However, this ran the project into trouble after a local advocate filed a court case against the PMC claiming it had no right to levy charges while the traffic police machinery was functional.
This was not the end of trouble for this project; the five-year contract with Keltron was never renewed as unpaid bills soured the commercial ties between the local government and the Kerala government undertaking.
Maintenance bills for the fourth and fifth year of the contract, worth Rs.63.80 lakh remain unpaid till date.
When probed, the reason turned out to be unpaid due from Keltron itself. According to a PMC document dated August 16, 2016, Keltron owes Rs.26.69 lakh to the PMC as “unprecedented cost for bus damage.”
The equipment, including the 120 cameras, now lies rotting in the dysfunctional control room in Swargate due to the stalled commerce.
PMC officials said Keltron will not hand over the equipment to the company which built the new system launched by Pune traffic police in August - Allied Digital, a local company.
The PMC, with the commissioner’s consent, has finally decided to clear their dues to Keltron and acquire the equipment that is rotting in Swargate, sources said. However, the dues owed by Keltron to PMC will be cleared from the security amount of Rs.84.96 lakh that Keltron had paid while accepting the project, the officer said.
While there is no indication in how many months or years this transaction will happen, the fact remains that public funds to the tune of Rs.17 crore have been wasted in the process.