New fund to restart Delhi’s stalled infrastructure projects

November 20th, 2008 - 2:40 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 20 (IANS) Partially tarred roads, half-covered drains, foot over-bridges lacking roofs - these are common sights of unfinished infrastructure projects in the national capital. However, things are set to change with the municipal authority planning to establish a fund to complete projects stalled by what are called “tender problems”.”To ensure that work is not left incomplete, we are working out a framework for a fund to cater to incomplete projects and details are being worked out,” K.S. Mehra, commissioner of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), told IANS.

“There are frequent fluctuations in the prices of steel and cement. Project estimates are prepared at certain rates. But subsequently, when the contractor quotes a higher figure because of price hike in raw materials, the project gets stalled till a new tender can be approved,” he said.

The period of delay is usually long drawn in a set-up like that of the MCD, which manages 80 percent of the national capital territory’s local administration.

Much to the dismay of residents, Delhi’s infrastructure projects are in a shambles. Roads and link projects remain suspended in Gharoli Dairy (Shahdara Zone), Arjun Park, Nangli Vihar and Vikas Enclave. Reconstruction of drains in Shahdara and other parts of West Delhi is incomplete. The construction of flyovers in Sarai Rohilla has been stalled.

These are some of the issues raised time and again at MCD meetings and postponed. In the Nov 7 meeting of the MCD’s standing committee, chairman Vijender Gupta had asked Mehra to assess the feasibility of setting up a fund to cater to the tender gap of about Rs.50,000-Rs.100,000 per project.

However, it will have to await the Nov 29 assembly elections.

“Any decision on the fund will be after elections. The fund cannot be taken to the house for scrutiny and approval - because the model code of conduct by the Election Commission has been imposed,” an MCD official said.

Satbir Silas Bedi, Delhi’s chief electoral officer, said: “Ongoing processes and schemes can continue under the code. But new policies cannot be formulated till the day of elections.”

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