For yet another year, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will have to rely on ward officials to get roadside and minor storm water drains cleaned before monsoon. The reason: Civic officials did not get a response from a single contractor despite floating tenders four times in the past few months.
To avoid further delay in starting pre-monsoon desilting works, the civic body has instructed ward officials on Tuesday to hire labourers from NGOs and complete work on minor nullahs to avoid any flood-like situation in the city. The cleaning of major storm water drains in the city will start from April 1, whereas the ward officials will start their work after April 7, said civic officials. The cleaning is important to ensure the city is flooded during the rains.
According to civic officials, there are 425km of minor nullahs and the cost of the contract to clean them, across 15 wards, is worth Rs 20 crore.
According to officials, the civic body will require 3.70 lakh people to clean minor nullahs in the city, whereas 2.24 lakh people will be required to clean the box drains and roadside drains. A senior civic official, on the condition of anonymity, said, “We did not face a difficult time last monsoon. Thus, we are not going to completely rely on contractors. We have our staff and also NGO labourers who will be hired to carry out pre-monsoon works.”
Last monsoon, the civic body had faced severe flak from the corporators for leaving silt on the roadside. This time, to avoid it, the civic body has floated tenders again to appoint contractors for transporting the silt removed by labourers from minor drains. However, to the dismay of the civic body, the first tender had got no takers and few norms of the tenders have been relaxed for attracting bidders this time.
A civic official, said, “We are not dependent on these contractors. If there is no response, our solid waste management’s transportation contractors will do the work.”
In 2015, the civic body had carried out an inquiry into the drains desilting work, where malpractices were revealed. The inquiry report revealed Rs35 crore in losses for the civic body and had indicted several civic officials and contractors. It was after the scam that contractors chose to stay away from the bidding process.