GUWAHATI, Nov 20 - Refurbishment of the Gandhi Mandap Project being carried out by the Guwahati Smart City Limited (GSCL) will be complete by January next year.
Work on the project was started in April this year and was targeted to be completed within November. But the GSCL could not complete the project within the stipulated time because of delay in official works. Sources said that so far about 50 per cent of the project has been completed.
According to sources, the project has been delayed as the project management consultant (PMC) of the GSCL takes a long time in approving the drawings submitted by the architect appointed by the contractor concerned. Sources also stated that till date some drawings of the project are yet to be approved by the PMC.
“The PMC consists of persons from outside the State. As such, they are not fully aware of the condition of the project site. Moreover, their method of approving a drawing is also a very lengthy one. Rather than sitting for a meeting to discuss all issues, specialists of the PMC write letters to the contractor. This leads to undue delay” the sources said.
According to sources, another reason for the delay in the work is the ‘very slow’ payment process of the GSCL. “The payment process of the GSCL is not perfect. They pay the bill in instalments, despite there being a general rule for paying the whole amount at a time after the work is complete,” the sources said.
Another reason behind the delay in implementation of the Smart City Project in Guwahati is the frequent change of managing director in the GSCL. In the past one year, the managing director has been changed three times.
“The GSCL managing director has tremendous work load as he is also given charge of many other departments. So it leads to delay in the work of the GSCL,” the sources added.
When contacted, the present managing director of GSCL Dr Siddharth Singh said, “We have a target to complete the project very soon. We could not achieve the deadline due to delay caused by the contractor. We have already issued a notice to the contractor concerned to complete the work as soon as possible. Moreover, in matters of payment, there are some parameters as per which we make the payments.”
In the meantime, officials of the GSCL stated that there is a need to improve the mode of working of the PMC.
The main objective of the refurbishment of the Gandhi Mandap Project as stated by the GSCL, is to preserve the heritage and historical significance associated with the place and convert the place into a potential tourism spot with naturally existing scenic viewpoints.
The project includes developing the landscape around Mahatma Gandhi’s statue, development of the front or entry court, renovation of the existing stage, renovation of the existing shade, development of the food court, kiosks for dry food items, redevelopment of forest trail along with infrastructure improvement work like drinking water, lights, pathways, signage, drain, toilet, retaining wall and walkway bridge.
In the meantime, the GSCL today hoisted the National Flag atop the 319.5-foot pole at the Gandhi Mandap in place of the old one which was torn on November 6.