If you’re tormented by potholes in your city and are hoping for things to get better, don’t expect any improvement any time soon. The reason: the same set of contractors are likely to construct the roads.
This was revealed after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) opened the financial bids for the Rs550-crore road building contracts on Monday.
“No major infrastructure company participated in the process,” said a civic official on condition of anonymity. “This is because of the nexus between BMC officials, contractors and politicians.”
The BMC had invited tenders for construction of about 50km of roads in the city, which will cover the island city, eastern and western suburbs.
“The amount of money spent by the BMC is huge, but the results are there to for everyone to see. Elected representatives, contractors and officials are involved in this [nexus] which is the reason reputed companies don’t participate in this process,” said Vinod Shekhar, a Congress corporator.
On July 23, HT had reported that in the past five years, the civic body had spent more than Rs5,000 crore on roads. It is planning to spend about Rs900 crore this year.
“Earlier, the contracts were worth Rs20 crore each. Later, we decided to go for zone-wise contracts for the island city, eastern suburbs and western suburbs with prior sanction of the standing technical advisory committee,” said Aseem Gupta, additional civic commissioner.
Sources said road contractors had to ‘take care of’ politicians, officers and junior staff, which affects profits. Also, infrastructure firms aren’t keen if the volume of the contract is less. “It is not possible to bid less than Rs200 cr. The cost of the equipment we hire is huge,” said an official from an infrastructure firm.
Nandkumar Salvi, member of the road monitoring committee, said, “The standing committee can reject the current proposal and ensure those who can do quality work bid.”