After being slammed by the Comptroller Auditor General (CAG) for allowing cost variations in road projects without following mandatory procedure, the civic body has decided to alter its permission-granting procedures for road works without taking any direct step toward tackling the larger issue of cost escalations.
“Cost variations are a systemic problem. The CAG report has considered the variations in the usage of savings from an approved contract amount for another road work,” said Aseem Gupta, additional municipal commissioner, at the standing committee meeting on Friday.
“So far, the standing committee’s approval was not essential for undertaking additional road repairs using savings from another passed tender. From now on, permissions will have to be sought first.”
The CAG had inspected road works between December 2009 and October 2011 in the city, and the Sena-BJP ruled BMC was severely criticised for the poor state of the city’s roads. The increase in cost from the initially-agreed amount, called variation, was 62% for cement-concrete roads and 57% for asphalt roads, the CAG report said.
But, no decision was taken to curb the escalation of costs while clearing road tenders in the committee.
“The anti-corruption bureau has to be called upon to carry out a proper probe of the cost variations and escalations pointed out in the CAG report,” said Opposition leader Dnyanraj Nikam.
“Even when there was no need for repairs, work was initiated,” said Congress corporator Pravin Chheda.
HT has been carrying a series of reports on the sorry state of the city’s roads, the shoddy road work carried out by civic contractors and the irregularities in handing out contracts in its ongoing series, ‘Mumbai’s pothole horror’.