Amidst much criticism from opposition parties for awarding contracts to the same set of contractors every year, the civic standing committee passed the Rs363-crore proposal for carrying out road construction works in the western suburbs on Thursday.
The proposal includes concretisation and asphalting works of roads in the western suburbs for which the three contractors - Prakash Engineering, KR construction and RPS Infraprojects Private Limited had bid 16 to 21 per cent lower than the cost estimated by the civic administration.
“It is unacceptable that we are forced to approve these contracts when the administration is not ensuring that the contracts do not go to the same firms every year. Owing to the poor quality of their work, potholes are formed on roads every year and citizens have to face the brunt for it,” said Sheetal Mhatre, standing committee member and Congress corporator.
The third party auditor appointed by the civic body, SGS consultants, has also repeatedly pointed out that contractors have been using material of inferior quality and have been cutting corners in carrying out work.
“The contractor, RPS Infraprojects Pvt Ltd has been downgraded by the BMC’s building and proposals department. Yet, road contracts are given to the same firm. The administration should change policy rules and ensure that this practice is broken,” said Sandip Deshpande, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena corporator.
“Before issuing tenders for road construction work this year, the administration had said that it would rope in big firms to deter shoddy road work but all its efforts have fallen flat,” Deshpande said
Some members were also unhappy with the delay in issuing tenders and awarding contracts resulting in under-utilisation of funds allocated for roads.
“Budgetary provision of more than Rs. 1400 crore is made for roads this year. But these funds are sure to lapse as past records show that the BMC has only utilised 17 per cent of the funds allocated for improvement of roads in the city,” said Rais Shaikh, Samajwadi Party group leader in the BMC.