(the emphasis in red, are mine)

Babus reveal Gammon’s game


Hyderabad: “Issue a notice to them” declared a visibly incensed CM delivering those words as if he were saying “off with their heads.” And his more loyal than the king babus immediately rushed to the press announcing that a notice would be served on construction major Gammon India threatening to blacklist them. But a day later, those very same babus are asking mediamen to ignore the matter. What happened and why in the first place was a notice supposed to be issued to this old and well-known name in the construction business that had its debut in the 1920s with work related to the Gateway of India?

<!----><!---->It transpires that Y S Rajasekhara Reddy government had lately been flooded with complaints about the traffic mess that is Punjagutta. The CM, fond of darting around the city roads at the head of a cavalcade has also seen for himself how the construction of the flyover has created confusion — what with earthmoving equipment being parked in the middle of the road and the road volume being reduced. Who is responsible for this mess, who is the contractor for the flyover, asked YSR at an official review meeting on Wednesday. “Gammon India,” said a babu. Another babu added that Gammon was responsible for delaying many irrigation projects as well. A discussion ensued, babus pointed out that the work of the Rs 28-crore Punjagutta flyover was started last year and was supposed to be completed by February this year. But now the time schedule has been extended to November. In the meanwhile, around Rs 14 crore had already been paid to Gammon. Other babus said Gammon India was also executing Rs 550 crore worth of works in Kalwakurthy lift irrigation project in Mahbubnagar and Galeru Nagari Sujala Sravanthi (drinking water project) in Kadapa. Though the due date of completion is still more than two years away, it was pointed out that work was not proceeding as per schedule. This is when the CM passed his blacklisting diktat.

<!----><!---->But a day later, the government seems to be developing cold feet on the matter. Why? The story doing the rounds is that Gammon India is the contractor only in name. Flush with orders from across the country like all other civil engineering companies, the Rs 1,871-crore Gammon has subcontracted the work to local parties that have close connections in the corridors of power. Issuing a notice to Gammon India will be tantamount to a threat to these powerful local entities.

<!----><!---->Gammon’s local representative and general manager, P T Venugopal when contacted by TOI for his response said that he has not been authorised to speak on behalf of the company. Sources aver that Gammon has only lent its name for bidding in the project and provided the designs.


The Times of India ePaper