BENGALURU: A year ago, the government asked all Nirmithi Kendras (infrastructure development societies) at district centres to move towards production of low-cost, environment-friendly materials and constructions on the same lines.

But resistance from district administrations, shortage of human resources, problems with fiscal allocation and the Covid-19 pandemic came in the way of the scheme’s implementation.

The revenue department had issued the order, directing Nirmithi Kendras to set up their own manufacturing units to produce greener materials and start in-house training to make them, apart from carrying out projects without calling for tenders.

“As per law, Nirmithi Kendras can take up projects up to Rs 2 crore without informing higher-ups. Local administrations, along with legislators, use this opportunity to award pieceworks ranging from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 10 lakh through the society instead of directly involving it,” said an IAS officer.

Bidar district deputy commissioner (DC) R Ramachandran said that the Nirmithi Kendra in his jurisdiction had been shut for almost two years now after it faced income tax claims. “The matter is being fought at the appellate tribunal and we have stopped doing work from the society,” he said.

Dharwad DC Nitesh Patil said that the administration identified a 57-acre parcel for setting up a manufacturing unit and creating ecofriendly construction materials. “However, we require funds to purchase the machinery. Allocation towards the project has been made, but money hasn’t been released for more than a year now,” Patil said.

Adoption rate

Udupi deputy commissioner KG Jagadeesh said that the district was persisting with the old system of identifying quality material suppliers and carrying out projects through tenders. “We have not yet launched the scheme,” he added.

Kolar is one of the few districts to have adopted the scheme. According to its deputy commissioner, R Selvamani, the district has set up a manufacturing unit and is using it for housing projects under various schemes and for building anganwadis and nada kacheris.

“In fact, we have instructed our Nirmithi Kendra to identify construction and demolition waste and reprocess the same to manufacture paver blocks. These blocks will be used for footpaths, built after road-widening in the city,” Selvamani said.

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