The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has emphatically refused to waive the fine it had imposed on a contractor that failed to keep to its deadline – twice. The civic agency had imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on Unity Infraprojects Limited for each day of delay beyond the given deadline for the reconstruction of Cooper Hospital.
The reconstruction, which started in November 2009, was scheduled to be completed by November 2012, but the contractors missed the deadline. Upon their request, the civic body even extended the deadline by six more months.
The contractors failed yet again, prompting the BMC to fine them Rs 1 lakh per day, till the work was finished. The contractor finally finished 153 days later, with the fine amount having risen to Rs 1.53 crore, of which the BMC recovered Rs 44 lakh (‘Cooper Hospital contractor fined Rs 1.53 crore for 153-day delay’, Nov 30).
The contractor, however, has been urging the BMC that the remaining fine amount be waived and the recovered amount also be reimbursed. The building was completed on Saturday and inaugurated by Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. The BMC however, has decided not to oblige. “He can request anything. We will recover the total fine amount,” said Sitaram Kunte, municipal commissioner.
Abhijeet Avarsekar, managing director of the firm, said, “We requested BMC, and now it’s up to the municipal commissioner to decide whether to waive it or not. But we as contractors are not happy if the project gets delayed and don’t delay it deliberately. It was our collective efforts and we completed our job as promised.”
The Rs 321.63 -crore RN Cooper Hospital redevelopment project involved the construction of a six-storey building with 636 beds, 21 operation theatres, a laboratory, blood bank, ICU, maternity ward, paediatric department, burns ward, ENT ward along with various other departments. The hospital will cater to 8-9 lakh residents of the western suburb, according to the BMC.