Chandigarh Municipal Corporation allocates 1.4 crore for ‘reorganization’ of six roundabouts, 24 lakh per unit
Chandigarh Municipal Corporation has started work on the “remodeling” of six roundabouts on a pilot basis at a cost of Rs 1.40 crore – 19 years after the same civic body tried, tested and rejected the same plan.
In detail, in 2003, the municipality of UT redesigned the roundabout separating sectors 5/6/8/9 by reducing the height of the exterior wall.
However, the civic body had later, after receiving multiple complaints, restored the roundabout to its original height and declared the project unsuccessful.
Former Chandigarh Chief Engineer SK Chadha, who also served in Chandigarh Municipality in the same capacity, told The Indian Express: “A similar project of redesigning roundabouts by reducing the outer wall (lane) has been completed in 2003. The redesign of the roundabout in sectors 5,6,8,9 was to be done as part of a pilot project. All I can say is that it didn’t work at the time.
Under the current plan, six roundabouts will be “upgraded” by the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation.
The “improved” roundabouts are the roundabouts separating sectors 14/15/24/25, the roundabout separating sectors 15/16/23/24, the roundabout separating sectors 36/37/41 /42 and the roundabout separating sectors 37/38/40/41, sectors 19/27/20/30 and sectors 31/32/4/47.
When contacted, Chandigarh Municipality Commissioner Anindita Mitra said the “improvement” of the roundabouts was being done in accordance with the decision of the Road Safety Board.
“The decision to improve the roundabouts was taken at a meeting of the Road Safety Council, chaired by Councilor Dharam Pal. The works are executed in accordance with the standard drawing issued by CAUT, in which the height of the outer periphery (width of 6 feet) is reduced from 2′ 3″ to 8 inches in order to avoid / reduce the impact of collisions vehicles and avoid fatal accidents. There will be no change in the geometry of the rotary.
Subhash Chawla, who was UT’s mayor in 2003, said they had to scrap the project then because ‘it was a mistake’ and the pooling of water near the roundabout would make it more at risk for motorists after reducing the height of the wall.
“Initially, we kept the height about six inches from the road. But this led to many accidents, motorists hitting the pavement. We then increased the height of the exterior wall by 12 inches. The second problem that will occur if the height of the exterior wall is reduced is that water will accumulate near the roundabouts after rain, because there will be no adequate drainage.Once there is waterlogging, the wall outside is not clearly visible, which leads to accidents. In 2013, this same proposal was mentioned once, but then I put it aside,” Chawla said.
He added that the main problem was that there was no concrete policy regarding roundabouts. “Officers on a whim start remodeling them. In twenty years as mayor, I have never found concrete ground for the remodeling of a roundabout.
Chawla added that after the CCTV cameras were installed, speeding was checked in Chandigarh and “few accidents happen near roundabouts”.
RK Garg, who wrote an email to UT Administrator Banwarilal Purhoit and UT Councilor Dharam Pal strongly criticizing the current decision, said the Chandigarh civic body is ignoring the lessons learned from his past experience.
“Near the outer limit of some roundabouts, such as that of sectors 37 and 27, there are large trees. Some royndabouts have utility poles. These trees and poles were not moved before redoing the interior perimeter walls. Civil society did not think of the problems when distributing tenders for the works. Money will be wasted and commuters will be put at risk if this project goes ahead,” he said in his email to the administration.
According to the details, the “improvement” work includes reducing the height of the outer periphery by rebuilding, using reflective strips, cat’s eye and signage. The official cost per roundabout, according to estimates, has been calculated at around Rs 24 lakh.
For example, although officials say most recycled items from the C&D waste plant will be used, one engineer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said new bricks will have to be used. If more than 2,000 bricks are purchased, he said, it will come at a cost of around Rs.8 per brick, making a total of Rs.16,000. For 6,000 new bricks, the cost will be around Rs 48,000.
“The sand rates are around 3800 rupees per 100ft plus 5% GST which means if a 150ft roundabout is taken the cost is around 5700 rupees plus GST. The price of cement is Rs 328 plus 28% GST and labor cost is Rs 800 and assistant Rs 500 per person,” the engineer said.
All in all, he claimed, the civic body will spend no more than Rs 3 lakh per roundabout for the renovations, he claimed, far less than the city’s estimate of Rs 24 lakh. municipality.
Former Mayor Chawla said the key issue with the funds is that most unscheduled rates are preferred, giving the civic body license to spend as much as they want on a particular job.