With the revelation that several roads proposed for reconstruction and improvement by the civic roads department were actually in good condition, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is now turning up the heat on the consultant who helped prepare the list of roads.
The BMC had appointed consultants to give their opinion on the selection of roads for repair or reconstruction. HT had, on Thursday, reported how an estimated Rs200 crore of taxpayers’ money was about to be spent on rebuilding and repairing 113 roads in the western suburbs (from Bandra to Dahisar) that were in good condition and only needed minor repairs, and how civic chief Ajoy Mehta had ordered that the roads be dropped from the list. In all, 155 roads from the island city, eastern and western suburbs on the list did not need reconstruction or repair.
Two years ago, the BMC had prepared a Rs5,000-crore master plan for reconstruction and repair of roads across the city over a period of three years. The master plan has the list of the roads – with their names and locations – that are to be taken up each year. The list was prepared by the civic engineers of the road department, with help from consultants, and the selection of the 155 roads, too, was based on the list.
“It is a serious issue. We need to find the basis on which the roads were shortlisted. The role of the consultant might be probed,” said a senior official from the road department.
The review of the proposed reconstruction of 840 roads across the city was ordered by Mehta, when he found roads at Worli and Andheri that were in good condition, too, were proposed for concretisation. Timely action saved nearly Rs600 crore of public money.
According to sources, Mehta is not impressed with the master plan, as it has many loopholes. Of the proposed 228 roads to be repaired in the island city, 25 were excluded; and 17 of the 282 roads in the eastern suburbs were removed from the list last week.
A road is selected for reconstruction based on the damage caused to it. The engineers from the road department review the roads and then select them for repair. The other alternative is a request from politicians or citizens. Once selected, civic officials make an estimate for the cost of the work and float tenders.
The lowest bidder gets the contract, after which the final approval of the standing committee is sought. Roads with a width of more than 45ft are taken for concretisation.