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Mumbai roads: Rs 97 crore spent, but no work on 120 minor roads

Contractor’s demand that the assignment be carried out under the supervision of a central agency and not the ward office has corporators in a fix

After digging up roads in south Mumbai for repairs in February, it appears the contractor has taken the island city for a ride. Subsequent to roadwork in eastern and western suburbs being hit owing to the contractors and their tantrums, now the repairs on about 120 minor roads in the southernmost precinct of the city have also gone the same way.

The councillors of the south Mumbai alleged that the firm has asked the road department that the work be carried out under the supervision of the central agency (road department) and not the ward office. file pic
The councillors of the south Mumbai alleged that the firm has asked the road department that the work be carried out under the supervision of the central agency (road department) and not the ward office. File pic

In spite of the Rs 97-crore work order given on January 27 to a contractor for asphalting of roads in the entire island city, it is yet to start operations. Prakash Engineering, which was awarded the contract, was to start work early, to finish ahead of monsoon.

The corporators of this region, however, are of the opinion that there are issues with the contractor, because of which work has halted, and citizens would have to suffer. The councillors alleged that the firm has asked the road department that the work be carried out under the supervision of the central agency (road department) and not the ward office.

According to a circular from the BMC, it is mandatory for the ward office to administer the work of minor roads that are less than 30 feet wide. Incidentally, sources at BMC also claimed that the contractor has demanded revocation of this circular, allowing a central agency’s supervision.

A senior BMC official, on condition of anonymity, said, “There are certain concerns regarding this contractor, as he has some unfair demands. The work on minor roads has not started and, according to the examination I have done on this proposal, the contractor has not even sought traffic permission, which will again take time and then it will be monsoon, which will lengthen the whole asphalting work again.”

Who said what
>> Yes, the repairs on roads has not started yet, and the work orders were given last month itself. However, now it’s the duty of the ward offices to follow through, as they would be supervising work on minor roads. - M Machiwal, deputy chief engineer, road department

>> A major assignment has been affected owing to arrogance of the contractor. BMC is passing so many new contracts, but there is no scrutiny on the status of the old ones. The inappropriate demand of wanting to be supervised only by a central agency clearly indicates that there is some vested interest in this. Due to all this, it’s the citizens who have to suffer. - Javed Juneja, Congress corporator of Musafirkhana

Prakash Bijlani of Prakash Engineering remained unavailable for comment.

>> Work order for asphalting issued on Jan 27, but process yet to commence
>> Aim was to finish task well in time before onset of monsoons
>> Mandatory for ward office to administer work on minor roads less than 30 feet wide

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