With sand shortage affecting almost all civic projects across the city, corporators fear that with the civic body approaching the end of the financial year, the funds allocated for those projects will lapse, throwing unfinished projects into a tizzy.
According to civic provisions, contractors have to submit bills of work for which funds have been allotted in the year’s budget, by March 15. If the bills aren’t submitted on time, the funds might lapse.
“There is a very real danger of most of our funds lapsing, because for the past six months or so, contractors have stopped all work, thanks to the sand shortage. How can they submit the bills in such a case?” asks Shiv Sena corporator from Andheri (West), Rajul Patel.
Rajendraprasad Chaube, Congress corporator is also on the verge of having his funds lapsed.
Out of a total of 75 works, which were approved in his ward, only 26 have been completed. “The rest are in various stages of completion and have all come to a grinding halt. The municipal commissioner and the state need to step in and salvage the situation for us,” he said.
Its not just civic repair works, which are stuck, but even mega projects are suffering. A senior civic official, from the storm water drain department, said the long-due BRIMSTOWAD project, which looks at overhauling the city’s major drains, is on the verge of coming to a grinding halt.
“The work on the project has come down to 20% of the normal pace. The cost of sand has gone up drastically and hence, it’s very difficult to carry out the work at the prescribed rates,” the official said.
Meanwhile, standing committee chairman, Rahul Shewale said the state should step in.
“Shortage of sand is affecting all civic projects and even the major ones, like BRIMSTOWAD. Hence, the commissioner should write to the state government urging it to take a more proactive role in resolving the issues behind the shortage. I will request the commissioner to do so.”
Municipal chief Subodh Kumar said he had instructed officials to look for alternatives to sand.
“I have told senior officials to study the situation and check if there are any alternatives, which could be used in place of sand. We can try using the alternative for a trial period, till the crisis ends.”