Mumbaiites continue to shell out high taxes to fund road construction and repairs, only to realise that the civic body has again failed to end the perpetual bumpy rides on city roads.
Three days ago, Hindustan Times had reported how 44 of the 147 roads freshly re-laid after the monsoon had already been damaged just a few months later. It has now come to light that the civic body had spent at least Rs55 crore on these roads. The expenditure was a part of the project that it undertook to build 175 major roads in the city.
Civic officials who arrived at the figure said the amount was an approximation and the actual amount would be higher and could go up to around Rs 70-80 crore.
An internal audit conducted by the Swiss-based firm SGS India Private Ltd, appointed by the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to conduct third-party audits, had found that various civic departments and utility companies had damaged the freshly-laid roads. Among the many reasons why these roads were damaged were-utility companies digging to lay and repair underground cables, Ganpati mandals digging up roads to set up pandals, various civic departments like the water department digging up to lay or repair pipelines among other things.
The amount includes the cost of materials, as well as construction cost calculated according to the prices quoted by each contractor, while bidding for the contract. Of this, Rs 29 crore was spent on 21 roads in the eastern suburbs, while Rs 15 crores were spent on building 12 roads in the island city. The remaining Rs11 crore was spent on relaying 11 roads in the western suburbs.
The work on VN Purav Marg alone, in the eastern suburbs, cost the civic body Rs 6.3 crore, while in the island city, Rs4.4 crore was spent on SS Rao Road.
Most of the 44 roads that were damaged were asphalt roads, while some were paver block roads. “The cost incurred would have been much more had they damaged cement concrete roads. Also, another factor that brought down the costs was that most of these roads were supposed to be widened and then re-laid. However, due to various issues, widening could not be carried out,” said a civic official, requesting anonymity.
Additional municipal commissioner Aseem Gupta, in-charge of roads, had told HT earlier that he’ll be able to see the audit report only after December 20 and will take action accordingly.
Despite repeated attempts, Civic commissioner Sitaram Kunte could not be reached for comments.