A month after the civic body scrapped the contracts of 24 contractors for the misuse of Rs. 120 crore allotted for road repair work, it now plans to spend Rs140 crore more to appoint contractors for the same work.
Hindustan Times had, on February 13, reported how the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had scrapped the 24 contracts after it found that the contractors had been guzzling public funds without delivering quality work. The Rs120 crore, allotted for a two-year period to reinstate the city’s roads after utility agencies dug them up, were exhausted in eight months by the contractors.
Also, in December 2012, HT had reported how 44 of 147 newly re-laid roads had been damaged within months due to a shoddy job by these contractors.
To fight this, the BMC decided to get utility agencies themselves to reinstate the roads they dig. In addition to this, it now plans to appoint seven contractors, with one for each zone that the city has been divided into for administrative purposes. Each of these contractors will be allotted Rs20 crore to reinstate trenches dug by civic departments as well as some which have not been reinstated properly by external utility providers.
“Private agencies must appoint their own contractors and ensure they refill the trenches and don’t damage roads in the process. This way, there will be much more accountability on part of these agencies and they will be forced to maintain those strips of roads for a certain period,” said additional municipal commissioner Aseem Gupta.
“However, since there is a chance that these agencies might not do a proper job, we will have a back-up contractor who can do it,” added Gupta.
Corporators, however, lambasted the new policy. “How is the BMC going to keep a check on which strip of the road has been reinstated by which utility company? This plan is very impractical in its approach,” said Samajwadi Party corporator Rais Shaikh.
Other corporators said that the delay in finalising a policy was affecting citizens immensely. “There are so many cases that I have come across where people have paid for water and sewer connections but the BMC is not providing them because there will be no contractors to reinstate the trenches that will have to be dug,” said Congress corporator Asif Zakaria.