The cost of widening and deepening the 11.6-km stretch of the Mithi river — from Vihar lake to CST Road, Kurla — could increase by 145 per cent, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said on Monday.
The BMC has proposed an increase in the cost of the project, undertaken in 2007, from Rs 318 to Rs 493 crore.
The BMC has said that breaking a hard rock found in the river and conforming to the standards set by the Central Water & Power Research Station (CWPRS), Pune, will add to the project cost.
This is the second time the BMC has proposed a hike for the job. The first was in 2008 from the project’s original cost of Rs 219 crore to Rs 318 crore.
The standards set by the CWPRS then required the BMC to carry out further deepening and desilting of the river in May 2008. This led to an increase in the cost by almost Rs 99 crore.
However, it now seems these additional 99 crores didn’t suffice because the depth of the river was still 0.5 metres less than what the CWPRS had recommended.
Sena corporator Rahul Shewale questioned the BMC’s proposal. “If the work being done is not following CWPRS guidelines then what is the need for increasing the cost? Why doesn’t the BMC award new contracts for the additional work they have cited?”
Additional Municipal Commissioner R.A.Rajeev said that the rate fixed in the contract on according to the 2005 schedule and that contractors are currently working for less money as their machinery is already in the river. Rajeev said involving new contractors will mean additional mobilisation costs.
The proposal is pending and will come up again in the next meeting of the BMC’s standing committee.