L&T, BMC spar over trenches dug for CCTVs in Mumbai
L&T implemented the Rs949-crore CCTV surveillance project in the city with more than 4,700 cameras which went live in 2017.Updated: Apr 22, 2018 00:36 IST
Larsen and Toubro’s (L&T) demand that the civic body waive off the Rs36-crore penalty, that it slapped on them for digging trenches ‘illegally’ for CCTV poles in May 2015, has reached the state government.
L&T implemented the Rs949-crore CCTV surveillance project in the city with more than 4,700 cameras which went live in 2017. The project was implemented by the state home department as part of the recommendations by the Pradhan panel which probed the 26/11 terror attack in 2008.
L&T was allowed trenching even during the monsoons, between June and September. The urban development department (UDD) had issued a circular treating the project as exceptional as it dealt with the city’s security. It had maintained that permission was deemed to have been given if the decision was not taken by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) within seven days.
BMC however slapped a penalty of Rs28 crore, which has now escalated to Rs36 crore including the interest of the last two years. “BMC claimed that though the agency was given special permissions, it did not follow the due procedure. BMC was not even taken into consideration while trenching. The issue was discussed in the presence of the chief secretary and additional chief secretary of the home department, but the BMC was hell-bent on the recovery,” said a home department official.
BMC chief Ajoy Mehta confirmed the dispute, but said he was not aware of its status. The L&T official in-charge of the project declined to comment.
Since L&T has been pointing to the UDD circular, the home department has now asked UDD to settle the issue. “The UDD is believably of the opinion that L&T should be given the waiver. L&T has contended that it has paid about Rs30 crore towards the charges and that the penalty was uncalled for as the trenching was done with UDD’s permission,” an official from UDD said. Moreover, owing to the pending decision over the dispute, L&T has not been able to recover the Rs100-crore bank guarantee submitted to BMC. Sources said the decision over the waiver is likely to be taken in the next few days.
First Published: Apr 22, 2018 00:36 IST