Watering down its hard-line stand of fining its own employees for causing delay in pothole repair work this monsoon, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) decided to slash fines levied on civic engineers by more than 90%.
The final fine amount of Rs. 8.30 lakh has been decided upon by the BMC to be collected from defaulted officials. The amount, however, has been considerably reduced from its earlier one of more than Rs. 1 crore.
“All engineers who had been fined were heard before their fine amount was finalised. We have reduced the fines in genuine cases and in some cases have even exempted engineers from fines,” said a senior official from the civic roads department, requesting anonymity.
After a test-run conducted by HT in July showed how potholes were not repaired within the stipulated 48-hour time period, the civic body announced its decision to fine civic engineers who delayed the process of assigning potholes to contractors for repair. A fine of Rs 1,000 per pothole is imposed for each day’s delay on the engineer’s apart from contractors if the pothole is not filled within the stipulated 48-hour period from the day it was reported on the portal.
“In spite of protests from engineers, we did not want to do away with the policy as it was introduced to keep a check on inefficiency,” said the official. Additional municipal commissioner Aseem Gupta had earlier said all engineers who had been fined would be heard on a case-by-case basis by the chief engineer of the roads department.
“If officials were on leave when the delay occurred or more than 15-20 potholes were reported in a day, then their work would be re-evaluated and the amount of fine would be reconsidered,” Gupta had said.