In a move that could slow down road repair and construction work started by the civic administration, elected representatives of the BMC want the central agency to stop doing minor road repair and construction work. They are now demanding that the old system of ward-level officials looking after such projects should be put back in place.
A number of corporators complained in Thursday’s meeting that the central agency did not inform them about — or discuss with them — the works it was planning.
The works committee (city) chairman Tamil R Selvan (BJP) told Hindustan Times that after recording the complaints from all the members of the committee, a letter will be sent to Sitaram Kunte, municipal commissioner, asking him to modify the policy and restore the old procedure. “None of the corporators are happy with the central agency,” he said.
“We can’t even suggest anything, which was possible earlier,” complained Vandana Gawali, corporator from ward 204. Central agency officers do not hear corporator complaints.
“The practice of assigning work directly to a central agency was initiated to cut the nexus between ward officials, contractors and corporators. The contractors never used to adhere to the standing technical advisory committee (STAC) rules, which resulted in shoddy work,” said a senior civic official from roads department.
The BMC administration had taken the decision to assign work to the central agency after the suggestions from STAC to maintain a better technical record. The agency comes directly under the road department of the BMC and appoints contractors, allots money and even inspects roads, leaving no space for the middlemen.
Civic activists are not amused. “I think road work should be handled by a central agency if the BMC wants quality work. The centralisation of road work has broken the nexus between contractors, ward level administration and elected representatives,” said Rajkumar Sharma of Action for Good Governance and Networking in India (AGNI), a citizen group.