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Dharam warns contractors

By Our Special Correspondent

GULBARGA Sept. 14. The Public Works Minister, N. Dharam Singh, today issued a stern warning to contractors, who have taken up work on upgrading and maintenance of 2,300 km. of State highways under the World Bank-assisted Karnataka State Highway Improvement Project (K-SHIP) that any delay in execution of the project would not be condoned and the punitive clauses in the contractual agreement would be invoked against the erring contractors.

Addressing presspersons along with World Bank officials and those of the Public Works Department, the K-SHIP, and Karnataka Road Development Corporation (KRDCL), Mr. Singh said the K-SHIP had initiated proceedings to recover Rs. 1.60 crore from the Hindustan Construction Corporation (HCC) and the Gujarat-based Sadbhavana Construction Corporation (SCC) for causing a delay of seven months in the upgrading of the road from Jewargi to Bhimarayanagudi.

The Minister said he had convened a meeting of senior officials of the HCC and SCC and told them that they had given the work on sub-contract and pointed out that as per the original contract at least 60 per cent of the work had to be executed by the main contractor. "This clause will be strictly used by K-SHIP to ensure quality of work."

Mr. Singh said of the total 2,300 km. of State highway taken up for upgrading, a major part of the work was in North Karnataka.

The districts in South Karnataka accounted for only about 300 km.

The project was designed to be completed by the end of 2006.

The K-SHIP, which is executing the project, had divided the project into 41 packages, and contracts had been given for executing 28 packages.

To a question, Mr. Singh said work on upgrading 375 km. of State highway had been completed.

There had been some delay in the execution of the Hattigudur-Lingsugar work and after the contractor was warned, work had picked up, he said.

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