In a bid to check shoddy work, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) scrapped road work contracts given to 24 contractors, after they exhausted the funds to be used over two years in eight months.
According to civic officials, the nexus between contractors, corporators and some officials generate unnecessary work to use up the funds.
In April 2012, the civic body had appointed one contractor each for all its wards to repair the roads damaged after utility agencies carry out the laying of cables or pipelines.
A total fund of Rs 120 crore was allotted to the contractors for two years. But, the contractors used up the money in eight months.
“Most of the works are unaccounted for. On several occasions, the contractors also carry out reinstatement work saying that the utility companies had carried out excavations illegally. There is no record of whether the repairs were needed or not,” said a senior civic official, requesting anonymity.
Hindustan Times had, in December, reported how 44 of the 147 freshly-laid roads by the BMC had been dug up by utility companies within months. The contractors had, in turn, carried out the repair work in a shoddy manner.
An internal note by the chief accountant (finance) last year had said how the nexus generated unnecessary civil works
siphoning off public money, without any results to show.
Now, the BMC has decided to ask the utility companies that damage the roads to repair them and appoint a third-party
auditor to supervise the works.
“The companies will have to pay a deposit and 15% of the amount as supervision fee. The deposit will be returned only we find the work quality to be satisfactory,” said Aseem Gupta, additional municipal commissioner.
Corporators, however, have opposed the move. Samajwadi Party corporator Rais Shaikh said, “The BMC earns an annual revenue of Rs 200 crore by charging the utilities for fixing the damage they cause to the roads. There is no guarantee that the quality of work carried out by the utility companies will be good. By changing the rules, the BMC wants to favour the utility corporate giants.”