BMC planning department to cut delays

To cut delays in execution of road projects, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will institute its own planning and design department within the civic body's roads department, as per recommendations of the Standing Technical Advisory Committee (STAC).

"The STAC had previously recommended that we set up a separate planning department within the roads department as a lot of time goes in planning and preparing tenders for road works. This is necessary for work to move at a better pace in the department as planning take time," said a senior civic roads department official. The new department will also take care of the tendering process for road works in the island city, western and eastern suburbs. Additional municipal commissioner Aseem Gupta said the planning department had recently been established as part of a restructuring exercise within the roads department to ensure better administration.

"We have beefed up this department and are now only entrusting the responsibility of planning on these engineers. Earlier, apart from planning, there used to be a lot of work related to execution that these engineers would take up within the department, but we are changing that. Now, we have established it as an independent body that will only look after the planning and design, including the tendering process," said Gupta.

"If a separate department is created to look after the planning and design issues, we can do better on the execution as there will be sufficient time to ensure road works are completed within the fiscal year. This will lead to better roads in the city," said the official.

"Because the roads department has to handle everything from planning to execution, the planning would be haphazard as there is no proper prioritisation and similarly, execution also suffers," said STAC member N V Merani.

This year, the BMC allotted Rs 1,400 crore for road works, even as there is a backlog from the previous fiscal. Senior civic officials said work on 42 major roads and nearly 300 minor roads that were planned in 2011-2012 was pending. With three months left in the current fiscal, the roads department has only begun construction and repairs on roads in the western suburbs. "It will take around eight months to complete the work. We are finishing work on the previous backlog," said a senior roads engineer.Roads work tenders for the island city were recently floated and the financial component for finalising the companies, which will be awarded the tender, is yet to be completed.

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