BMC spent Rs 8cr on road repairs that were ‘free’

October 23, 2013

By Pandurang Mhaske, Mumbai Mirror |

BMC spent Rs 8cr on road repairs that were ‘free’


The city administration squandered Rs 8.44 crore of taxpayers’ money by hiring a contractor to repair a stretch of SV Road even though the work could have been done for free, a recent audit has revealed.The company that originally constructed the 2.5-km stretch in Borivali in 2007 was bound by the contract to fix road defects for no extra cost till December 2012.

But the BMC did not bother to study the agreement and hired another contractor to repair the stretch in April 2012, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India found after scrutinising roadwork orders of the past few years.

The BMC has been facing public anger over its failure to improve the condition of the city’s thoroughfares despite spending crores on road contracts every year. Activists have repeatedly found faults in its process of awarding contracts, and have pointed to a nexus between officials and contractors.

The latest embarrassment is the result of the BMC’s poor coordination with the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA). The state government had in 2005 tasked the MMRDA with widening and improving SV Road, from Bandra to Borivali. MMRDA officials awarded the contract, with a defect liability clause extending to December 2012, to Valecha Engineering.

The company completed the work in December 2007, and the MMDRA handed over the responsibility of the 25-km SV Road to the municipal corporation. Last year, the BMC found that the condition of the stretch between Forest Road intersection and Chandavarkar junction in Borivali (W) had worsened drastically with paver blocks coming off at many places along the divider and on the pavements. This was causing severe traffic snarls.

Instead of consulting the MMRDA and finding out if the original contractor was legally liable to repair the stretch, the BMC invited tenders for the work. On April 26 last year, it awarded the Rs 8.44-crore contract to ME Infrastructure. Public auditor CAG has questioned the logic behind paying for repairs when they could have been done for free.

An official in the BMC’s road department said that Valecha Engineering’s guarantee period had become invalid because of subsequent work by the civic body to fix damaged utilities under the road.

However, the original contract clearly said that the company would have to carry out repairs till December 2012 for additional cost.

Additional Municipal Commissioner SVR Shrinivasan, who is in charge of the road department, said that he would look into the issue.

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