Mumbai-based RTI activist Anil Galgali has alleged that Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is favouring a road contractor J-Kumar by awarding him the work of installation of noise barriers worth Rs 18.90 crore without inviting tenders.
Galgali sought information through RTI, and claimed that MMRDA chose to directly award the work to the road contractor instead of following laid down Government procedures.
"Neither was the work tendered nor any negotiations were carried out to execute this specialised and sensitive work. The project was awarded to the contractor J-Kumar unilaterally at highly-inflated rates as recommended by Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) for a whooping Rs 18.90 crores," Galgali claimed.
CRRI New Delhi, a government agency in noise mitigation was awarded this work of noise mapping and mitigation. MMRDA had earlier provided noise barriers for projects like Bandra-Kurla Link Road (Rs. 8.68 Crores), JVLR near IIT campus (Rs. 4.11 Crores), APLR on Eastern Freeway (Rs. 76.50 lacs) and SCLR (Rs.5.14 Crores).
"However, in the present case of the Ambedkar Road flyovers, MMRDA completely ignored the fact that work involving Rs 18.90 crores should be tendered to obtain realistic market prices and also issue the work order to instal noise barriers at Sion Hospital, King's Circle- Tulpule Chowk and Hindmata Flyover," said Galgali
"Earlier, MMRDA had favoured the same contractor J-Kumar for the work of Dahisar Railway over bridge noise barriers of Rs 5.74 crores without tender," he alleged.
Market sources reveal that while the rates of the noise barriers are around Rs. 9,500 to Rs 10,500 per square meter, MMRDA has awarded work to the contractor at Rs. 12,500 per square meter. (Inflated rates as recommended by the Consultant CRRI), added Galgali.
"Inside information reveal a prevalent scrupulous practice followed by the agency to award extra items by bypassing tender procedures. It is precisely this route that MMRDA adopted to award this project to the road contractor for a value of Rs 18.90 crores as an extra item in spite of the flyover being opened to traffic more than 2 years back.” Galgali further alleged.
Galgali has written a letter to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Secretary Swadhin Kshtriya and MMRDA Metropolitan Commissioner UPS Madan and has urged them to cancel the work order immediately and follow the tender process.