Experts and corporators are upset with the way the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to hand over a large quantum of roadwork to a single firm, which will use an untested method to build roads.
The BMC on Thursday proposed to assign the contract to build seven roads at Rs 7 crore to Carboncor, the sole distributor in India of a patented product, which is an emulsion of carbonaceous shale - a waste product of coal mining – that can be laid in wet conditions.
Adolf D’Souza, Juhu corporator and member of civic standing committee, lambasted the BMC. “Why is the BMC showing such obvious favoritism to this one product?” he said.
D’souza said carboncor had been used on a Juhu road. “It failed as the road formed potholes almost immediately,” he said.
It is mandatory that the state-appointed Standing Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) okay new technology the BMC wants to use, and it has okayed this one, but not for new roads, said STAC chairman NV Merani.
“We only approved it for filling potholes and resurfacing. We warned against using it for new roads as it is too costly,” said Merani. “We have tested Carboncor only for filling potholes and resurfacing, not for new roads.”
The STAC had recommended that the technology be first tried on a patch of 1.25 km. Aseem Gupta, additional municipal commissioner (roads), said: “Building 1.25 km would have come to Rs 4 crore to Rs 5 crore. We won’t be paying much more than that now.”
Gupta also said there were enough safeguards in place. “Whatever amount worth of work we give them, we will take 50% as bank guarantee and a liability period of five years. So, even if the technology fails, the BMC won’t make losses.”