Mumbaikars living in the eastern suburbs will have to suffer bad roads without any repairs for at least a couple of months more, due to dilly-dallying by the civic authorities.
The area involved extends from Sion eastwards to Kurla and Mankhurd and up north to Mulund and covers 90 of the total 227 wards, or nearly 40% of the city’s area.
The repairs and improvement of roads in the eastern suburbs has been pending since June last year for various reasons and now it will take some time more as the schedule of rates for road repair works was revised last month.
This means that the repair plan will have to be looked at afresh and according to civic sources, it could take at least two months, after which it would also have to be approved by the standing committee. “We completed the administrative procedures by September to float tenders for new works this month. But the revision of the schedule of rates forced us to prepare the tenders again from scratch,” said SVR Srinivas, additional municipal commissioner.
The schedule of rates was revised by the civic authority to tackle the issue of contractors bidding low to win the contracts and delivering poor quality work. This has been prepared by Tata Consulting Engineers’ Limited. This revision does not affect road repair works in the island city and the western suburbs that were sanctioned last year and are in progress.
In 2012-13, the civic body had issued tenders for concretising 24 roads at a cost of Rs85 crore and asphalting 106 roads for a further Rs168 crore, besides some repairs.
J Kumar Vitrag, one of the contractors, bid the lowest, while Mahavir Infraprojects was the next lowest. But Mahavir was debarred by the BMC on the grounds of malpractices like submitting fake bills for paver blocks in ‘L’ ward in Kurla.
Mahavir challenged the BMC decision in the high court, which directed the civic body to award the contract to a deserving bidder or undertake the bidding process all over again. But the civic body did not take a decision and J Kumar took the matter to the Supreme Court where it is still pending.
Residents and activists have slammed the civic body for the delay. “Keeping the public interest in mind the BMC should have gone ahead with the road works in this specific case according to the previous schedule of rates,” said Rajkumar Sharma, head of a citizens group in Chembur.
Mess over roads
Road repairs in the eastern suburbs have been delayed primarily because the BMC dilly-dallied on giving the work out following a dispute. Last month, the civic body revised the schedule of rates for road works to tackle contractors who bid low to win the contracts and delivered poor quality work. Now, it has decided to revise the tenders and this will take at least a couple of months.