Concerned about the delay in laying foundation stones for various projects approved under the Smart Cities Mission, NBCC (India), a Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) under the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, has written to Puducherry Smart City Development (PSCDL).
As per reports, PSCDL had given the Navaratna firm the go-ahead to plan, design, and carry out major infrastructure development projects. In May 2022, the two parties had agreed on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the execution of ten projects totaling Rs 298 crore. On 25 May, 2023, the company issued Letters of Acceptance (LOA) for five major projects which included development and improvement of Goubert Market on 2.9 acres for Rs 36 crore, reconstruction of Pudumai Building for Rs 3.30 crore, development of the Grand Canal for Rs 27.50 crore, development and improvement of the Botanical Garden for Rs 15.75 crore and development of eco-tourism within the urban forest area in Swadeshi Mills for Rs 5.25 crore.
However, the company has not been able to take up the work due to delay on the part of laying the foundation stones for the projects.
In its letter, NBCC (India) noted that the projects' eight-month contract period had already passed by three months as a result of the holdup in placing the foundation stones. "Work on the projects hasn't started, despite the fact that the contractors are prepared to get started. As a result, it is extremely challenging to finish the assignment in the allotted time, according to the letter.
Due to the delay, the contractors may also request a time extension without being penalised, idle costs for being unable to begin the project despite being prepared to complete it, and foreclosure of the work in the event of additional delays and escalations, according to the NBCC.
“Any further delay in taking up the projects may lead to litigation and any justified compensation/demand above reasons/head by the contractors shall be borne by PSCDL. Hence, PSCDL has been requested to take appropriate action and start the works without further delay,” NBCC said.
According to PSCDL, all preparations have been undertaken for laying the projects' foundation stones. A top official stated, "We are addressing the issue by continuously liaising with the Puducherry government." Due to loud complaints from traders, the planned event to lay the Goubert Market's foundation stone on Monday was postponed. Regarding Goubert Market, the neighbourhood merchants are enraged about the market's redevelopment. They claim that there have been significant delays in similar market building or renovation.