BJP MLA alleges scam in Mumbai coastal road project works; BMC refutes claims
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) Ashish Shelar on Monday demanded an investigation into the construction of Mumbai coastal road. He alleged that there was an irregularity of over ₹1,000 crore in the construction, as low quality material was used for reclamation, which resulted in massive damage during the two cyclones (Tauktae and Nisarga) that had affected the city. The civic body said it will look into the complaint if Shelar has lodged one with its office.
In a press conference on Monday, Shelar said, “Mud from unregistered quarries was brought for the construction of coastal road and an additional number of truck movements were shown against which bills were cleared.”
Shelar alleged fraud of around ₹634 crore in 3,300,000 tonnes of filling material used for reclamation and royalty theft of ₹437 crore on procuring this filling material.
He further alleged that BMC paid an additional ₹48 crore for procuring high-density filing material for reclamation, which was in violation of its own tender conditions. Shelar also claimed that the project caused loss of government revenues worth ₹81 crore due to non-payment of penalty for overloading trucks for illegally transporting construction material.
Shelar said if no action is taken, he will approach the court.
“I have information that 35,000 bogus rounds were shown of trucks, but in reality nothing like this has happened. The BMC or the state government needs to order an SIT (special investigation team) investigation into this or else, we will explore legal options. I have also written to BMC regarding this,” said Shelar.
The BMC in a statement said, “Allegations are being spread in the media that a total of ₹1,000 crore has been embezzled in three packages in the coastal road project being constructed by the BMC. However, there is no fact in these allegations and they are baseless. There is no fact in the allegations of fraud in the coastal road works.”
Municipal commissioner Iqbal Chahal said, “Above is the detailed clarification of BMC to various allegations made regarding alleged corruption in coastal road project as reported in certain section of the media today afternoon. All allegations are absolutely baseless and that too made on a day when 1km of tunnel length got completed under Malabar Hill.”
BMC issued a point-by-point reply stating that the materials required for the filling of the beach road phase-1 have been taken from the mine approved by the consultant. Royalties are mutually paid by the mine owner. The material used for filling is as per the specification in the contract. This material has been tested from time to time. So the question of additional recovery does not arise.
The coastal road project, measuring around 10-km between Princess Street Flyover and the Worli-end of the Bandra-Worli sea link, is expected to be ready by July 2023. The tunnelling work has been much delayed owing to the Covid-19 pandemic as the delivery of the tunnel-boring machine (TBM) from China arrived late. Until Saturday, BMC had completed 1-km of tunnelling work for the project.