Slow pace of Ejipura flyover work riles residents
It’s been more than three years since the civic body began work on the 2.5 km long Ejipura-Kendriya Sadan flyover, but there appears to be no end in sight. Work on the flyover seems to be progressing at a snail’s pace. Sources said there are fears it will come to a grinding halt as the company in charge of the project is allegedly in a tight spot financially.
Following a recent protest by residents of Koramangala led by BTM Layout MLA Ramalinga Reddy against the inordinate delay in the work, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta held a review meeting on Tuesday, where changing the contractor was also reportedly discussed.
BBMP had earlier considered cancelling the contract and calling a new tender in April 2021. However, a final decision is yet to be taken on the issue, sources said.
Residents, however, are at their wits’ end over the delay. “We have suffered enough and given the civic body a long rope. We want the work to be either speeded up or let them change the contractor and complete the flyover at the earliest,” Mr. Reddy said.
A Kolkata-based firm Simplex Infrastructure Ltd. bagged the contract for the flyover and work orders were issued in May 2017, with a deadline of 30 months to finish the project. However, the pandemic grounded the work, sources in BBMP said.
In July 2021, BBMP made an escrow account after it found the payments it made had been diverted by the company, after which work picked up pace but has now again slowed down. “The company is facing financial difficulties and has very low working capital,” said Lokesh, chief engineer (projects), BBMP.
‘Clear pending bills’
Nithin Sheshadri, one of the residents of Koramangala, said the civic body was also at fault. “The company is facing financial difficulties, a common trope across sectors post the pandemic. But the civic body should at least clear all pending bills in time to help the company finish the project,” he said, adding that changing the contractor at this stage would be a legal tangle. Residents are demanding that the civic chief personally monitor the project every two weeks.
Mr. Reddy said pending bills had also added the delays in work on the flyover. Two years ago, the civic body had cleared ₹32 crore bills at one go. Work picked up pace for a while, but has again slowed down as the firm seems to have no working capital and the civic body is not clearing bills in time.