Taking note of serious allegations of corruption in the widening and deepening of Mithi River that caused a devastating deluge in the city in July 2005, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan has sought a detailed inquiry report from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
The BMC is charged with making payments to contractors for jobs not included in the work order, especially rock cutting. The corporation is also under the scanner for not verifying the quantum of rocks excavated from the river. The BMC did not conduct any scientific study to find out the presence of rocks in the river before paying the contractors, says the complaint made to the chief minister. The BMC paid contractors at higher rates than MMRDA, State Public Works Department and City and Industrial Development Corporation that undertake rock removal for various projects.
The CM's intervention in this matter is crucial because he has resolved to clean up the mess in the Shiv Sena-BJP led BMC.
A special nodal agency, the Mithi River Development and Protection Authority (MRDPA) has been formed to supervise the work. The Rs 1,284.35 crore plan had the highest component of Rs 330 cr for deepening, widening and de-silting.
The complaint made by Congress legislator Charan Singh Sapra to the CM says that three of the five contractors were favoured and given additional work despite the BMC's standing committee and chief accountant (finance) demanding fresh tendering for deepening of the river. Sapra said work on the two bridges on the river was also given illegally to one of the companies. Sapra told HT that he had been pursuing the matter since January this year.
In a note from BMC's chief accountant (finance) which the CMO has forwarded to the BMC, the office objected that the original contract was revised to the extent of 50% for M/s Unity SNB (JV) and M/s Reliance Michigan (JV), and 99.44% for M/s RPS Infra Projects Pvt Ltd. Despite the officer raising objections in September 2009, the BMC got fresh quotes, without a tendering process, from the same contractors.
Additional municipal commissioner Aseem Gupta said the BMC would appoint the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B) to verify the rock profile. "IIT-B has asked us for Rs 1 crore for the job. We will get the standing committee's approval for the study."