The newly constructed Regional Transport Office (RTO) in Andheri sports a fresh coat of paint and looks like operations can begin overnight, but RTO officials claim that the project has hit a political bump and the situation does not look very promising.
The ground plus three-floor building painted light yellow and brown is far from complete and the interiors and furniture, like wall cupboards and filing cabinets, are half done.
Planks, cement bags and other such material lies scattered on the floors and the area surrounding the building is pockmarked with pits, mounds of rubble, uneven approach and other debris, and numerous shanties erected for the construction workers. The building is located opposite the existing RTO and licence-issuing officers conduct driving tests on the bumpy ground.
Mired in trouble
In 2006, the Public Works Department (PWD) selected KS Chamankar as the developer to construct the proposed building on a 7,000 square meter plot at the initial cost of Rs 15.52 crore under the Slum Rehabilitation Scheme.
Six years later, the building looks more or less ready with the exterior freshly painted, but the interiors are yet to be completed. The area has been barricaded and security guards look after the place. A few light bulbs are switched on in the evenings and construction workers on the site sometimes laze around in the building or hang around their shanties.
The RTO officials are tired of waiting for the building to come up as the existing offices looks rickety and barely has enough space to accommodate the queues that arrive each day to get their licence or other such related work.
Transport Commissioner VN More said, “The PWD is overseeing work on the project and we are waiting for it to be completed.”
RTO officials are claiming that since the building has become mired in political controversy, there is little hope of it becoming operational anytime soon.
BJP leader Kirit Somaiya recently filed a PIL against developer M/s KS Chamankar, which has been given the contract for constructing the RTO building at Andheri and Maharashtra Sadan in Delhi. In his PIL, Somaiya levelled corruption charges at PWD Minister Chhagan Bhujbal. “The Bombay High Court is hearing the matter against the construction of Maharashtra Sadan and Andheri RTO building,” said Somaiya.
Meanwhile, efforts to contact the developers were futile. M/s KS Chamankar has been given the job of constructing Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi and the High Mount project at Malabar Hill.