After Congress corporator Shafiq Khan questioned how the contractors have been paid escalation amount to the tune of around Rs. 30 crore for the delay in various projects under Bhopal Municipal Corporation, speaker Kailash Mishra constituted a five-member committee to probe the matter.
The committee, which will have no corporator as its member, comprises BMC commissioner Vishesh Garhpale, BMC additional commissioner Pramod Shukla, two experts from MANIT Bhopal and a senior official from finance wing of BMC.
Speaker Mishra wondered why only small contractors were penalised and no big contractor had been penalised till date.
He instructed the BMC commissioner to probe the matter of escalation amount given to the contractors and ascertain whether any contractor had been given the amount against the norms.
He said that if amount had been given against the norms, the officers responsible be punished.
Escalation amount is the amount paid to the contractor in addition to the sanctioned amount for the work due to delay in the project due to the to the government department concerned.
Congress corporator Khan who had asked about the details of the escalation amount paid to the contractors for the delay in the projects as the proceedings of the house started, BJP corporators tried to corner the Congress corporators as to why they went to Delhi without BJP corporators to meet the Union urban development minister Kamal Nath.
BJP corporators alleged that Congress corporators went to Delhi and sought funds for the development in their wards only.
They wanted to know whether the Rs. 200 crore that had been assured for the development projects in Bhopal by Nath was a grant or it would be part of the JNNURM package.
Congress corporator Girish Sharma silenced them by saying it was strange that they were questioning them on the issue, while they didn’t have much to say about the chief minister infrastructure scheme, which was totally based on a loan amount, for which BMC would have to interest.
Through a written question, said by admitting that escalation amount of around Rs. 30 crore was paid, the BMC administration had admitted that the delay was due to BMC itself and not due to contractors.
He wondered why no contractor had been penalised for the delay. He said there were around 26 major projects under BMC, which are with 14 contractors.
In his reply, BJP corporator and mayor in council member Krishan Mohan Soni said the delay was due to the fact that in most of the projects, the land was not in possession of BMC when the projects started.
The land acquisition and removal of encroachments from the project lands took time, delaying the projects.
Congress corporator Khan questioned as to how the work orders were given and tenders invited when the BMC didn’t had land in their possession. “This goes against the very basic norms of starting major projects,” he said.