“From 15 crore per kilometre to Rs 7.5 crore”: Whitetopping Project might come back

Bengaluru: The BJP-led state government plans to take up white-topping of roads at a cost, which is almost half of what it’s predecessors spent between 2016 and 2019. While the Congress-JD(S) coalition had made a budgetary allocation of around Rs 15 crore for white-topping each kilometre of road, the BJP government is confident of taking up similar works for an estimated cost of Rs 7.4 crore per kilometre. 

Currently, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is preparing cost estimates for undertaking the white-topping project (laying concrete) on three roads. The roads, selected under the pilot basis, are: 1.5-km stretch in Shakambari Nagar ward, 1.25-km stretch in Yediyur ward and 3.5-km stretch, falling under Yelahanka Assembly constituency. 

The civic body is expected to float the tender for the civil works in about two months, it’s learnt.  The white-topping project is expected to include rainwater harvesting pits, footpath with separate ducts for underground utilities, benches and street lights. 

The BJP, which has been opposing the white-topping project due to its high cost of construction, believes that the project could be taken up with half the investment. Party leaders claim that only 60% of the sanctioned project cost was actually spent on the work, while the remaining 40% of the cost was siphoned off as commission. 

“We will prove that the project can be taken up without paying commission to anyone,” a BJP leader said. 

Soon after BS Yediyurappa took charge as the Chief Minister, he had directed the Urban Developed Department (UDD) to probe the Phase I and Phase II of White-Topping project. While Rs 800 crore was spent on the Phase I project, consisting of 29 roads, the Phase II project (41 roads) was sanctioned at a cost of Rs 690 crore.  

The Chief Minister had also directed the UDD to scrap 123-km Phase III project since tenders were not floated. 

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