Road scam: BMC sends show-cause notices to contractors

The six contractors have to reply in a specified period and will be given a hearing; if officials are not satisfied, they will be blacklisted

The BMC sent show-cause notices to six contractors in the road scam yesterday, and also revised and standardised several of its tender conditions to bring about uniformity in all contracts. Meanwhile, the Sena has tried to bail out of anything that goes wrong this monsoon, stating that it is the civic administration that is responsible for monsoon preparedness.

The BMC yesterday initiated the procedure to blacklist the six contractors named in the enquiry report of the scam. They have to reply to the show-cause notices, within a stipulated time. They will be given a hearing, and if officials are not satisfied, the contractors will be blacklisted.

Change in conditions
The civic body had constituted a committee to revise the tender conditions for BMC. The conditions for bidding for civic contracts were different for different departments and required to be brought to par. Also, the conditions were revised against the backdrop of the various scams that have hit the civic body in contractor-driven works in the past one year.

Reservoir Road in Malad, Wasri Hill Road in Goregaon and Guru Gobind Singh Road in Andheri are among the five roads sampled by the BMC as part of the roads enquiry. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar
Reservoir Road in Malad, Wasri Hill Road in Goregaon and Guru Gobind Singh Road in Andheri are among the five roads sampled by the BMC as part of the roads enquiry. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar

Some of the recommendations of the committee include, changing the Defect Liability Period from three to five years, only a maximum of 25% works to be sub-contracted, no physical submission of documents, conditions of having minimum turnover to be based on PWD and limiting price variation from 4% to 10%. Also, joint ventures will be allowed only when the cost of the tender is more than Rs 100 crore.

The committee has also detailed how companies can be banned forever (from doing BMC work) or for a specific period. More than two incidents of banning (for a period) will lead to de-registration.

The scam
According to an enquiry report submitted by additional municipal commissioner Sanjay Deshmukh, all 34 roads sampled in the first phase of the enquiry were found to have violations. The committee had dug trial pits and taken samples of the material. The committee found that in most cases, entire layers of the roads were missing. It was only after these violations were found that the BMC filed an FIR against the six contractors involved. The FIR filed at Azad Maidan police station also named two third-party auditors who were supposed to verify the work done on the basis of what was required. The civic body has initiated civil proceedings against the contractors by filing a civil suit worth Rs 300 crore.

Two chief engineers have been placed under suspension pending a departmental enquiry. The civic body is also probing the role of the other engineers working on these projects, following which action will be taken against them.

Mayor unhappy with pumping stations
Mayor Snehal Ambekar has written a letter to municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta, inviting him for a joint inspection of nullahs. The letter dated May 17 has directly laid responsibility of any glitches in the BMC's monsoon preparedness on Mehta. Ambekar’s last letter regarding corruption in roadworks prompted the civic administration to constitute an enquiry. In Tuesday’s letter, though she has appreciated the efforts taken towards nullah-desilting this year, she writes, “The pace of work at the Britannia pumping station is extremely slow. The station needs to be made functional before monsoon. Even the Gazderbandh pumping station needs to be made partially functional.”

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