The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has registered a First Information Report (FIR) against all the six contractors found guilty of irregularities and sub-standard work in the road works scam.
It is also in the process of blacklisting all six — following a probe into 34 roads in the city.
But here is the catch: The same set of contractors are carrying out road and bridge work worth around Rs1,500 crore across the city. With the civic chief-appointed inquiry committee finding fault in the quality of work by these contractors, doubts are being raised over the quality of the other work given to them. Citizen groups and activists have now demanded supervision of this work.
Significantly, following a similar stormwater drains desilting scam last year, the civic body had scrapped the contracts for ongoing work. However, in the case of roads contracts, the BMC is yet to take a similar decision. The road inquiry report has indicted six contractors — J Kumar Infraprojects Ltd, Mahavir Road Infrastructure Private Ltd, RK Madhani, KR Construction, RPS Infraprojects Private Ltd and Relcon Infraprojects Ltd — and two third-party quality auditors for shoddy work. Sources said in the past few years, the six bagged most of the road repairs and construction contracts.
“The cost of ongoing work carried out by these contractors must be nearly Rs1,500 crore,” said a senior civic officer.
For example, RPS Infraprojects Private Ltd is resurfacing south Mumbai’s iconic Marine Drive at a cost of Rs70 crore. Recently, J Kumar Infraprojects Ltd bagged a Rs12-crore contract to construct a grade separator from NC Phadke Marg to Teli Gali junction at Andheri. KR Construction has got contracts worth Rs150 crore to lay out mastic asphalt on side strips between Linking Road, Bandra and Andheri.
Citizens and activists have raised concern over the work undertaken by these contractors. “The probe report has proved the contractors are guilty of malpractices in road repair works. This has raised concerns over the quality of work they have undertaken elsewhere, which has been not been probed,” said Jitendra Gupta, a citizen activist from Kurla.
He said, “The BMC should appoint experts from the Indian Institute of Technology or any other reputed organisation to examine the work undertaken by these contractors,” he said.
Speaking to HT, chief engineer, (roads and traffic), Manohar Pawar, said, “As the contracts for ongoing road works have been awarded to these contractors before they were blacklisted, we cannot scrap them. However, henceforth they will not be given new contracts.”
Meanwhile, Mumbai BJP secretary, Vivekanand Gupta has written to the commissioner of police to transfer the road scam case to the anti-corruption bureau (ACB). “The BMC officials are purposely trying to weaken the case. There are various issues that require investigation. Hence, the FIR should be transferred to the ACB,” said Gupta.
HT contacted the contractors for their comments, but either they were unavailable or chose not to comment on the issue.