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CAG report criticises BRT implementation

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has added a bitter footnote to the severe criticism the Delhi government has recently weathered over the Bus Rapid Transit System,or BRT.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi |
February 26, 2009 12:32:30 am

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has added a bitter footnote to the severe criticism the Delhi government has recently weathered over the Bus Rapid Transit System,or BRT.

While the government is going ahead with two more BRT corridors in the Capital,the CAG criticised the implementation of the stretch between Ambedkar Nagar and Moolchand,and added there was “no consistency in design parameters of the project”.

The report,which was tabled in the Delhi Assembly on Wednesday,says no study was carried out to assess the consequences of carving out dedicated lanes from the existing road network. The BRT has lanes singled out for buses,cars,pedestrians and cyclists.

The report also brought up the objections raised by the planning department in 2004 and the Delhi traffic police in 2006. It says the Transport department ignored the concerns of stake-holding agencies on design and went ahead with the construction. It says the exclusive bus lanes has shrunk the roads,leading to congestion.

The planning department had cautioned the government that road space would shrink if it went ahead with separate lanes. It also said no study had been conducted to gauge if drivers wanted to shift to the BRT mode. The traffic police had grumbled about the design and the signal cycle.

The CAG report also mentions the government spent an extra Rs 4.29 crore on chiselling out a 3-kilometre stretch of concrete road between road between Ambedkar Nagar and Chirag Delhi. While the Public Works Department (PWD) in December 2005 had recommended the use of flexible railings as seen in cities like Beijing and Jakarta,the department decided to construct concrete roads at a cost of Rs 2,329 per square metre when bitumen roads cost only Rs 1,608. The idea of more concrete roads was later abandoned by the government in July 2007 due to the high cost involved.

The report points out the government’s extension plans were not flawless and might lead to chaos as there will be three different traffic systems in a stretch of 14-odd kilometres. This despite the government’s decision to shift the bus lane to the left of the road between Defence Colony and Delhi Gate.

The CAG does not like the fact that the government has shoved all responsibility of implementation on the Transport department,which,the CAG believes,has no expertise in road engineering. The report feels the charge should have been given to the PWD,and not to present consultants RITES and DIMTS. The report states: “An assessment of the agreement¿ indicates the functions assigned to the consultants were overlapping.” While DIMTS was hired as supervisors,with a consultation fee of Rs 1.50 crore,RITES was project management consultants at Rs 6 crore.

The report added: “Non-association of PWD in construction of the BRT corridor on an asset owned by it,would pose serious maintenance problems in the future.”

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