The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to appoint experts from Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) to check the presence of rocks on the Mithi riverbed.
This development is significant because the rocks have been cited by the civic body as the reason for cost escalation of the Mithi River project. Under the Mithi River Development Project Phase II, the civic body wants to deepen and widen the river as well as construct a retaining wall and a service road along the river.
The proposal for a study, which will cost Rs1.15 crore, will be tabled before the civic standing committee for approval on Thursday.
“We need to test the rocks to do further civil work along river measuring 11.5km,” said Laxman Vhatkar, chief engineer of the civic storm water drain department.
The river project has been mired in controversy over the escalation of the price of the project since 2009.
The original cost of the project was Rs218 crore, which later went up to Rs463 crore. Questions were raised over the increase in cost by Rs245 crore.
The contractor as well as the administration had then said that the cost had gone up because of the hard rock, which was found on the riverbed.
A proposal put forth by the experts from IIT-B said they need to dig a hole 3-10m deep at every 100m stretch between Filterpada in Powai and CST pool in Kurla and collect a rock sample.
“Since IIT-B has experts, we cannot float tenders to award the work,” said Aseem Gupta, additional municipal commissioner.
A civic internal audit of the desilting and widening work carried out by the BMC on the river revealed that repeated cost escalations were allowed in favour of a single contractor who was handed over the work without inviting tenders.
An overflowing Mithi had contributed largely to the July 26 deluge in 2005.