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In a secret move, state govt decides to toll steel flyover

Published On : 18 Oct 2016   |  Reported By : Courtesy : DHNS   |  Pic On: Photo credit : DHNS

Bengaluru, DHNS: L&T enters into joint venture with NCC Ltd, an unlisted company. The Siddaramaiah government’s efforts to hush up details of the controversial steel flyover project have been proved once again: It has silently accorded approval to collect toll from the users of the flyover that will connect Basaveshwara Circle to Hebbal.

Right in the middle of the controversy, the government has in an order dated October 13 given approval to the Bangalore Development Authority to collect toll after completing the Rs 1,791-crore steel flyover. Though the BDA is yet to finalise the rate of toll for different kinds of vehicles, it is bound to be on the higher side, going by the high cost of the project. People are already paying a hefty toll in order to reach Kempegowda International Airport by using the elevated road.

The government, which has been resisting disclosing information on the project that has attracted widespread criticism in the state capital, has kept everyone in the dark about its decision to impose toll. While briefing the media on the state Cabinet’s decision on the project on September 28, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T B Jayachandra had said the government was yet to take a decision in this regard. But, ironically, the government order authorising the BDA to collect toll has been issued based on the Cabinet decision.
This is not all. It has now emerged that L&T, which has bagged the project, has entered into a joint venture with NCC Ltd, which is not a listed company. The government had kept the joint venture agreement between the two companies under wraps.

Contradictions galore

Government documents accessed by DH have also established that the government has contradicted its own statements on the length of the steel flyover. Bengaluru Development Minister K J George and Additional Chief Secretary to Urban Development Department Mahendra Jain had been claiming that the Cabinet had on September 28 approved extending the steel flyover till the elevated road to the airport (near Esteem Mall). On the contrary, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, on Monday, admitted that the decision to extend the flyover by 1.6 km (from Hebbal flyover till Esteem Mall near Kodigehalli) was taken after the Cabinet meeting.

The October 13 order of the government states the project connects the Hebbal flyover. The order neither mentions the National Highways Authority of India’s elevated road nor Esteem Mall. Interestingly, the order does not mention the total length of the flyover. The distance of the steel flyover between Basaveshwara Circle and Hebbal flyover approved by the Cabinet was 6.7 km.

Sources in the government said the cost of the project was likely to shoot up by about Rs 450 crore once the Cabinet officially approves the decision to extend the flyover by 1.6 km. The cost per km of the steel flyover is estimated at Rs 260 crore.


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