The civic body has thrown all rules to the winds. And by doing that, it has passed on the excess cost to the city’s exchequer.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) Standing Committee on Wednesday sanctioned a proposal, the cost of which soared by 50 per cent over its original estimate.
It may be noted that BMC Commissioner Jairaj Phatak had issued a circular on June 6, 2009, specifying that cost variations should not stretch beyond 15 per cent of estimates — either way.
He had announced this at a Standing Committee meeting after the circular was issued.
The controversial project pertains to repair of bridges and subways in the eastern suburbs. Its original cost had been pegged at Rs. 3.50 crore for the financial years 2008-09 and 2009-10.
The Standing Committee on Wednesday cleared the proposal post-facto.
However, the cost has now escalated to Rs. 5.25 crore — that’s a neat 50 per cent over its estimated cost.
Standing Committee Chairman Ravindra Waikar admitted the cost was above the original estimate. “We had no option but to pass the proposal,” Waikar said. “We could go for re-tender, but at this stage when Assembly polls are around the corner, we didn’t want to take a chance.”
Waikar said the entire process could mean a delay in bridge repairs. “And if a bridge were to collapse, who should be blamed?” he asked.
Any civic work which is over and above Rs. 50,000 mandates invitation of bids.
In practice, however, civic departments invite bids for certain works and then get them approved by the Standing Committee and then get approvals for increase in estimated cost compared to the original contract estimate.