Contractor fined only ₹1 lakh for shoddy ₹24-crore nullah work
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has imposed a fine of just ₹1 lakh on a contractor who changed the direction of a Malvani nullah, leading to waterlogging in nearby municipal colonies during monsoon and high tides
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has imposed a fine of just ₹1 lakh on a contractor who changed the direction of a Malvani nullah, leading to waterlogging in nearby municipal colonies during monsoon and high tides. This also makes it difficult for students from an adjoining school to access the road.
Interestingly, the work order involving widening of the nullah and constructing a wall is worth ₹24 crore.
A penalty notice of ₹50,000 was issued to Eric Infrastructure on November 4 and 17 for poor construction and inferior workmanship. “It was found during an inspection that the construction of the nullah wall between Abdul Hamid Road and National School is inclined inwards,” the notices, copies of which are in possession of HT, said.
The first notice from the storm water drain department has instructed the contractor to redo the north side of the nullah while the second one talks about redoing the south side. Both have warned Eric Infrastructure of stern action if the work wasn’t rectified.
Manoj S, a resident of Malvani municipal colony which has chawls housing 96 residents and Bharat Mata, a private school, said, “The contractor changed the direction of the nullah by 2.5 metres and increased the road level up to four inches. As a result, we face waterlogging not just when it rains but also during high tides. The flow of the drain is reversed.”
The concrete walls on both sides were constructed using rusted material, and they were bent, Manoj said. “A sub-engineer, who wasn’t posted in the area, oversaw the work and even signed the bills.”
The matter came to light after RTI activist Santosh Daundkar had on September 28 complained to municipal commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal about the poor-quality work. Soon after, civic officials visited the site for an inspection.
Daundkar said, “We found several irregularities; the nullah wall was shifted from its original place, the nullah lacked depth, and it wasn’t done as per terms and conditions. Low-quality cement and steel were used. Locals complained of waterlogging as the road level was raised by a few feet.”
Daundkar alleged that an officer who was not concerned with the nullah work was present on site with the contractor and even signed the bills without being the authorised officer to do so. He also claimed that the nullah was diverted and a road was constructed at the behest of a local politician. He has sought an inquiry by the BMC’s vigilance department.
When the manager with Eric Infrastructure was contacted, he said, “We were fined ₹1 lakh. The nullah level was not done as per specification and hence, it caused waterlogging in the area. We are rectifying it.”
He, however, clarified that the road was included in the BMC’s plan and it was not constructed at any politician’s request. “It [road] will go from the side of the nullah.”