Contractors cheated BMC out of crores

October 19, 2013

Hemali Chhapia & Bhavika Jain, TNN


MUMBAI: An internal audit by the BMC of its road and traffic department has revealed that in many road projects standard procedures were not followed, rules ignored and costs escalated beyond permissible limits.In one instance, the civic corporation paid Rs 9.7 crore above the contract cost of Rs 121.7 crore for the construction of a road overbridge in Jogeshwari. The contractor argued the fatter bill by claiming price escalations. But why the civic body consented is unknown given that, as per rules, the maximum price variation can be 5% of the contract cost-—which in this case comes to Rs 6.1 crore.

RTI activist Vihar Durve demanded strict action against errant officers. “Compliance with earlier inspection reports is pending. For 1996-97 and 2000-01 periods, no explanation has been furnished on why undue benefit accrued to contractors. In many cases, final bills have not been submitted. Such tardiness is unacceptable,” said Durve. Some officials conceded that departments ignore auditors’ remarks and do not take corrective action. Additional municipal commissioner S V R Srinivas, who is in charge of the roads department , said on Friday that he cannot comment on the inspection report until he reads it.

Others, however, argued against the specific points in the audit. They said that contractors are paid extra for transportation of debris, despite the job being part of their contracts, if the distance from the work site to the dumping ground is high. Also, they said, roads dug up by multiple utility agencies can be rebuilt within their guarantee period.

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