Two days after the Hindustan Times reported how a civic plant, running on public money, meant to manufacture good quality premix for better roads in the city was being underutilised, the civic body is now planning to outsource its operations to a private party.
This, civic officials say, will help increase the output and quality of the premix – the material used to fill potholes.
The plant has two kinds of operations – one, which manufactures the batch-mix pre-mix while the other that manufactures the lesser used drum-mix. The civic body will be outsourcing the former.
Additional municipal commissioner Aseem Gupta said, “We have decided to outsource operations to ensure better infrastructure is in place for quality production of premix. By outsourcing, we’ll be able to manufacture both the types of pre-mixes simultaneously.”
Admitting that the plant is underutilised, he said: “There are various reasons for this. Once the hot premix is manufactured, it has to be supplied within two to three hours at the site. This becomes very difficult, but we didn’t have infrastructure to hold it for any longer.”
While outsourcing the operations, the civic body has made it mandatory for the bidder to provide two silos, an instrument that will hold the pre-mix for longer. “These silos are like a thermos and can keep the pre-mix hot for at least 48 hours,” Gupta said. But, he remained non-committal on whether the civic body would make it mandatory for private contractors to buy premix supplied by the civic plant. “We will allow the private firm to sell the excess pre-mix to private contractors. But, we haven’t yet decided on making it mandatory for contractors to buy it from us,” he said.
Experts are unsure if this will benefit the city. Former chief engineer (roads) Nandkumar Salvi said, “It depends on whether the BMC pushes the private firm to ensure good quality premix, or we’ll see that the private party has tried and cut corners and produced inferior quality of premix.”