Mysuru: The work on the multi-level parking lot in the Town Hall premises to ease the problem of parking in the heart of the city continues to be in limbo, even after seven years of commencing of the construction, thus inviting the ire of the public over this enormous delay.
The whole place is filled with mounds of rubble presenting an ugly sight to the visitors to this historic, cultural and tourist-attraction city, especially with the Mysore Palace situated right next door. One wonders what the elected people’s representatives and the officials of Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) are doing to solve the problem that is plaguing this project.
On the one hand the influx of tourists including foreign ones is increasing day by day and as a result the density of vehicles entering the city is also going up. This is causing parking problems in the Central Business District (CBD) where there are many tourist attractions located.
Realising the gravity of the situation, the Hyderabad-based Chabria Associates was given the contract worth Rs.18.28 crore to construct the multi-level parking lot in the Town Hall premises. The ground-breaking ceremony was performed on April 11, 2011 and the project was to be completed by April 2012. However, it remains incomplete even after all these years which shows the utter disregard by elected representatives.
The contract was bagged by Chabria Associates through tender process. Though the work on the Raja Marga and the multi-level parking began at the same time, it progressed at a snail’s pace, as the contractor kept giving the excuse of shortage of sand.
Since the MCC officials put pressure, he was not able to complete the work for the rate fixed. And he started demanding escalation in cost. He also promised that once the work on the Raja Marga is completed he would take up the multi-level parking work. But the City Corporation had rejected this move.
Meantime, the contractor quietly moved back to Hyderabad leaving the project in a limbo. Hence, Chabria Associates was blacklisted.
Multi-level parking: The multi-level parking is being constructed in a 6,000 sq.ft area. Pillars are being used for the two-tier construction. Nearly 700 cars and 500 two-wheelers can be parked here. The roof-top of the multi-level parking will have an open air theatre and a Ranga Mantap and the work on this is almost complete. However, the work on the parking lot where cars will be parked is 80 percent complete but the work on the two-wheeler parking has come to a complete standstill with just pillars standing and no support walls.
The entry and exit ramp works to the parking lot have also been completed but since the other work is incomplete it cannot be used. When it rains the water in the first and the second tier gets collected in a pit specially constructed for the purpose.
There was a ditch in the same place earlier where the multi-level parking lot is coming up. A few years back, a KSRTC conductor had died under mysterious circumstances falling into the ditch. The drainage from here led to the neighbouring Dr. Rajkumar Park and it is said that it has been blocked thus causing water-logging at times.
During the last Dasara celebrations, the incomplete multi-level parking lot was used for parking vehicles. This move had somewhat eased the situation for those who had come to watch the various programmes in the Mysore Palace.
Rs.10.86 crore payment
The Mysuru City Corporation has already paid Rs. 10.86 crore to Chabria Associates. The bills related to the work have been cleared at various times.
However, the contractor was adamant that he could not complete the work due to the escalation in cost of raw materials, stalled the work and disappeared, which has caused problems for the MCC.
Steps to complete the work
The MCC, which had blacklisted Chabria Associates in 2016, decided to give the contract on piece work basis to complete the multi-level parking lot construction in 2017. A local contractor was assigned the work. Two pillars had been erected where the two-wheelers have to be parked.
However, Chabria Associates has brought a stay order. The Court has stayed saying that except their company no other contractor is eligible to take up the work. Since there is a stay order, the work has come to a grinding halt.
Den for illegal activities
Town Hall has turned into a den for illegal activities. There are two security guards posted in two shifts each. Out of them, one is in charge of security for the Town Hall building and the premises, while the other is in charge of Dr. Ambedkar statue and the upcoming multi-level parking premises.
However, the Town Hall is exposed to all kinds of elements since there is no compound on the side where the Garuda Mall has come up and there is easy access from the Gandhi Square side also because of the same reason. The iron railings opposite the Hopcoms are also bent where the people can easily enter the premises. Thus this place has become a haven for drug addicts, rag pickers, and nuisance is created by people who consume liquor and throw away the empty bottles.
“Town Hall which has such a rich and historic past must be saved from such anti-social elements. Compound on all sides and proper security arrangements to prevent such illegal activities is very essential and the City Corporation must open its eyes to take steps immediately,” said a concerned citizen speaking to Star of Mysore.
By M.T. Yogesh Kumar