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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Edition 19: Baner Road at half the cost of Expressway

…and still it is not expected to finish as yet. The road is under construction for almost four years now but it is not reaching its destination. The flaw in the system has taken its toll on taxcpayer’s money with cost of this road skyrocketing to absurd levels.
City Blog Desk
The pathetic way in which Pune Municipal Corporation functions has taken a huge toll on the infrastructure in the city. Not only that, this has also made a dent in the taxpayer's pockets. A lot of public money has been wasted on some of the works which were to be completed years ago.

A case in point is Baner road which connects Baner to Hinjawadi, i. e. Pune-Bangalore highway. Believe it or not, but this small stretch of road which has an affluent residential profile around it, costs more than half of the cost incurred for the express way linking Pune and Mumbai.

Consider the facts. Pune-Mumbai expressway was completed almost 10 years ago in 2000. The money spent on constructing this first six-lane highway in the country was Rs 1630. This money was spent on making a world class road stretching 93.1 kms. The tenders for the road were floated in 1997 and it was opened for the public use in 2000.

Now consider the Baner road. PMC is building this road for the last four years. Till now it has spent Rs 26 crores on the works of the road but the work is still not complete. Now, last month another tender was floated for the same road at a cost of Rs 12 crores. This adds up to more than Rs 38 Crores for a stretch of four and half kilometre road.

Thit means PMC has spent almost Rs 10 Crores for one kilometre. The Pune-Mumbai expressway is 93 kms. long and its cost was Rs 1630 Crores. The cost per kilometer for e-way is Rs 17 crores while road stretching from Baner Gaothan to Balwewadi costs Rs 9.5 Crores. It is more than half the cost of expressway.

The Protest
People in Baner and political parties have consistently protested against the delay in the work. Last month, workers of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena had an agitation on the high-way wherein the workers halted the traffic at e-way. The workers alleged that PMC officials have not acted despite repeated requests.

The Baner road from Hotel Green Park to Balewadi still remains dug up on both sides with pipelines and cables on the road. Generally a time-limit of six months after the work order is given for completing a project.The PMC took up work on the Baner road in early 2008. However, it focussed more on Sus road later and completed it in time.The patches on Baner road were then asphalted with a promise to finish the work after the CYG.

Last month, on March 12, the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal mission (JNNURM) cell issued a tender notice inviting bids to complete the work at an estimated cost of Rs 12.21 crore. According to Vinay Deshpande, officer on special duty, JNNURM, "There were some problems with the earlier contractor. He was not doing the work properly. His contract has been cancelled and fresh bids have been invited. We expect the end-to-end work to be completed within six months."
However, this also does not hold water since the PMC has banned any type of road digging from April 15. This means for this monsoon period at least, the work on the Baner road is not going to be finished.

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