Two firms found guilty in the BMC’s probe into irregularities in road construction projects are set to bag new contracts from the civic body.
The two contractors — J Kumar Infraprojects Limited and RPS Infraprojects Private Limited — will be awarded two new bridge-building contracts each, despite being mentioned in the first information report of the road scam, registered by the Azad Maidan police. The four contracts are worth a combined Rs 226 crore. A civic official, who did not wish to be named, said the firms may get the contracts as they have not yet been blacklisted by the BMC.
And that’s not all. The firms have also bid 36% to 54% above the BMC’s estimated cost to build the four bridges – two in the western suburbs and one each in the eastern suburbs and the island city. The four projects are: a flyover from Yari Road (near Amarnath Towers) to Lokhandwala back road junction, Hancock Bridge near Sandhurst road, a rail bridge at Vikhroli station, and the reconstruction and widening of a bridge over the Mithi River, near the old drive-in theatre at Bandra (E).
According to the BMC’s inquiry report, irregularities in road projects worth Rs 352 crore amounted to just Rs 14 crore. The BMC’s road department registered a complaint against six contractors last week, after finding irregularities in the construction and repairs of 34 roads. Civic chief Ajoy Mehta suspended Ashok Pawar, chief engineer of the roads department, and Uday Murudkar, chief engineer, vigilance. Mehta also recommended initiating the process of blacklisting all six contractors.
But even as the roads department was set to initiate the process, the bridges department submitted proposals to the civic standing committee to award four contracts to two tainted contractors. These proposals will be tabled before the standing committee on Wednesday. Two other tainted contractors mentioned in the FIR — RK Madhani and Company and Relcon Infraprojects Limited — had also bid for a bridge project each but weren’t selected because their bids were higher.
Standing committee member and Samajwadi Party group leader Rais Shaikh, said, “We will oppose these proposals because these contractors have defrauded the BMC. The ruling party and civic administration are deliberately trying to push these proposals through before the firms are blacklisted. The commissioner should blacklist all six on Tuesday itself.”
A senior civic official said, “We had submitted these proposals to the standing committee last month, before the road inquiry report was out. The standing committee has the power to reject them.” Nitin Shah from RPS Infraprojects was not available for comment, while an official from J Kumar Infraprojects said the firm did not wish to comment at this stage.