The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC)’s outlay to fill a pit behind Gandhi Ashram, using sand from its own Pirana dump, is pegged at Rs 48.55 crore. And despite civil engineers on its payroll, the civic body has hired a consultant firm at Rs 50 lakhs to advise on how to “transfer sand from one pit to another.”
The Gandhi Ashram and Precinct Development Project will utilise a total of Rs 235 crore on depository works. To guide the civic body in its scheme, hired are services of city-based agency Multimedia Consultant Pvt Ltd. Among the land-fills planned as part of the project, is a large pit near Chandrabhaga. While the task is estimated at Rs 48.55 crore, planning on “something as trivial as pit-filling” has been billed as half-a-crore, pointed out an AMC insider.
The site filling has to be done in a three-layer process, where one layer would be made of inert material from Pirana, the second would be fly ash and the third, fertile soil.
The massive contract has raised eyebrows, given that the process is simple: sand from the Pirana dump site will be loaded onto trucks and brought over to fill the pit. Once ready, this pit will account for only 10 percent of the total 55-acre plot to be used for the new Gandhi Ashram project. When contacted, project deputy commissioner, K.Patel was not available for comment.
Mahatma Gandhi had established the Satyagraha Ashram on the banks of Sabarmati after returning from South Africa.After Independence, the name of Sabarmati Ashram was changed to Sabarmati Harijan Ashram Trust. The land, originally belonging to Mahatma Gandhi, was transferred to organisations like Harijan Sevak Sangh, Sabarmati Gaushala and Sabarmati Ashram Prevention and Memorial Trust.
The AMC’s proposed development project has been planned on 55-acre land belonging to various organisations at the cost of Rs 1,200 crore. The AMC, on July 8, 2021 put out an urgent proposal for depository works as part of the project and appointed Multimedia Ltd as a consultant for a fee of 1.15 percent of the total project cost.
Now, the civic body has announced depository work and expenditure of Rs 29.28 crore for water supply and distribution work, Rs 12.21 crore for sewage network, Rs 28.62 for storm water disposable network, Rs 51.43 crore for Chandrabhaga drain network, Rs 16.38 crore for streetlights and Rs 48.70 crore for road development
The project seems to have been taken up under Town Planning development, and pits occurring in the land belonging to private owners would be filled up along with levelling the other land. Roads will be opened and constructed as per the TP scheme.
An AMC official said on condition of anonymity: “Work of filling the pit behind Gandhi Ashram has been begun and 4 lakh metric tonnes of sand has been brought from Pirana. We did not need a consultant.”