In an alarming repercussion of the civic body’s slow-paced work, the consultants’ fees for preparing engineering designs and managing the second phase of the Mumbai Sewage Disposal Project has more than doubled.
The civic standing committee sanctioned the cost escalation on Thursday, increasing the fee from Rs. 145.76 crore to Rs. 313.7 crore. You as the tax payer will have to bear this additional Rs. 167 crore burden for the five-year delay. The overall project cost has also shot up from Rs. 1,240 crore to Rs. 5,371.6 crore.
The consultants, a joint venture of four firms, were appointed for phase two of the project in April 2007, and were to complete the detailed plan by April 2012. However, hurdles in land acquisition and restrictions due to modifications in coastal and environment norms resulted in constant changes in designs.
“The consultants will now have to manage the project up to 2017,” said a senior civic official.
The consultancy’s work includes preparation of detailed designs for a new sewage treatment plant at Colaba, operation of several new pumping stations, modernisation of the existing ones, laying of sewage tunnels, and increasing the capacity of existing pipelines.
The sewerage network currently covers only 65% of the city’s developed area, forcing a large number of people, mostly in slums, to live in deplorable conditions.