The civic body has been under fire over the alleged nexus between contractors and politicians, but even then it went on to award the contract of repairing a civic school building to a firm that had earlier been blacklisted for doing a shoddy job.
Kinjal Construction Company, was awarded a contract for undertaking repair works at three schools in Sewri-Wadala, DN Nagar and Versova between 2007-2008 and 2008-2009. However, a civic panel in 2009 had found that the work done by the firm was of inferior quality.
On Wednesday, the civic standing committee, however, chose the same firm and even gave it a contract worth Rs3.75 crore to undertake repair work at a civic school in Byculla.
In its meeting, the standing committee had cleared two proposals worth Rs19.83 crore for two schools, one for repair and another for reconstruction of school building. While the Aarey Colony Municipal School in Goregaon (East) will be reconstructed at a cost of Rs16.8 crore, the civic school in Byculla will be repaired at a cost of Rs3.75 crore.
However, Hitesh Shah of Kinjal Construction Company denied that the civic body’s evaluation committee had pulled up his company for shoddy work in an inquiry conducted in 2009. When he was told about the report of the committee, he chose not to speak further.
Between 2007-09, the civic body had awarded contracts for completing repair work in 35 schools, but after receiving several complaints, it appointed a committee consisting of deputy municipal commissioner (education), zonal deputy municipal commissioner, deputy municipal commissioner (vigilance department) and the municipal chief auditor to look into the matter.
The committee found that all the contractors had flouted quality norms. After that, three contractors were blacklisted and others were penalised. Now, some of them have once again been shortlisted to undertake repair and reconstruction work of civic schools.
Civic standing committee chairman and Shiv Sena leader Rahul Shewale said: “The contractor has not been blacklisted so he can take part in bidding process and shortlisted as he bid below the estimated cost.”
The standing committee, which has powers to clear expenditure proposals, is controlled by the ruling Shiv Sena-BJP alliance. Opposition, however, seemed unconvinced. “There should be some basis for banning contractors. If a contractor has been fined repeatedly, then the firm should be blacklisted,” said Sameer Desai, Congress corporator.