These works were taken up by the BBMP using state government grants worth close to Rs 2,000 crore in total.

 Ktaka CM Yediyurappa orders probe on Bengalurus white-topping Tender Sure works
news Controversy Monday, August 19, 2019 - 19:01

Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has ordered a probe on the use of public money for two phases of white-topping and Tender Sure works on Bengaluru roads, under the Siddaramaiah government. The CM has also stopped the implementation of the third phase of white-topping for the time being. 

These works were taken up by the BBMP using state government grants worth close to Rs 2,000 crore in total. The CM’s order for a probe has triggered a swift response from KJ George, the former Bengaluru Development Minister in Siidarmaiah’s cabinet, who has denied any wrongdoing.

In a statement, George said, “White topping project was ideated and implemented by BBMP with a vision to find a long term solution to potholes / bad roads considering the vehicular density in Bangalore city. Initially the Detailed Project report for the white topping was made by authorised competent agencies adhering to the standard procedure. Following the report the DPR tender was called accordingly. The tender formalities were vetted by the Technical Committee and Empowerment Committee comprising of Additional Chief Secretary: Urban Development, Secretary: Public Works Department, Additional Chief Secretary: Finance & Commissioner: BBMP. “

“The pricing of the project was done as per by Public Works Department Schedule of Rates and the pricing finalized / roads selected for White Topping was approved by the cabinet. The entire process of white topping is in compliance with KTPP Act.  I do agree that there is inconvenience for the commuters and citizens at large due to the white topping project. This inconvenience is temporary. There are many completed white-topped roads in Bangalore city which are done in the best quality and commuters are appreciative about the ease of travel,” he added.

However, he said that he welcomed the move by the CM to order a probe by the Chief Secretary.

What is white topping and Tender Sure?

White-topping is a process where normal bitumen asphalted roads are given a concrete topping in the hope of giving them a longer lifespan and to prevent formation of potholes. BBMP claims that white-topping is the ultimate cure for the pothole menace, since concrete roads have a lifespan of around 30 years, unlike asphalt roads, which need to be tarred every three to four years.

While the durability of white-topped roads is a contentious topic, experts and a section of citizens had questioned the BBMP haphazard planning and the delay in executing the projects without any public consultation. 

Some residents of  South End Road had even gone to the Karnataka High Court objecting to white-topping of the road from Madhavan Park to Nettakallappa Circle alleging the BBMP had adopted “unscientific” methods. They claimed that white-topping will make the road uneven and it will lack drainage facilities for both rainwater and sewage as no culverts have been built. There were allegations of corruption as well from the opposition and a section of activists.

TenderSure roads are roads designed by Jana Urban Space.a non-profit, and has designated spaces for utilities such as power, water, sewage, drainage, telecom and gas lines.

While cheered for its prioritisation of pedestrians, and integrated road design approach, TenderSure roads have its fair share of critics for its high financial and environmental cost. The project has also faced opposition as government had relaxed tender conditions for TenderSure roads.

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