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Monday, September 25, 2023
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No payment for shoddy work

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Civic body chief gets tough on erring contractors and holds back their payments for substandard work.

Ajoy Mehata-AV

BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta has asked officials to withhold the payments of contractors who are involved in the shoddy work of road repairs and desilting of nullahs. Even though inquiry is pending against contractors they have still managed to grab the contract for this year’s desilting work. Citizens have questioned how work has been allotted to these contractors even though they had performed substandard work last year.

Even though the Shiv Sena is ruling the BMC but it has always tried to fix the blame on contractors for poor desilting work. Mehta had also set up a committee to inquire about the irregularities in awarding the nullah cleaning work. Even though the civic body had floated tenders for inviting contractors for undertaking the desilting work but it received a lukewarm response. Therefore the BMC had to rely on old contractors for performing this job. A total sum of Rs 105 crore was paid to contractors despite them performing substandard work.

Last year too, Mehta had held back payments of contractors as he was unhappy with their work after the city had witnessed heavy rains on 19th and 20th June. He had set up a five member committee to probe the incident. Some of the recommendations presented by the committee are to make a change in inspection norms such as appointment of a third party auditor to check if the drains are being desilted properly, and setting up check points near the silt dumping sites for better monitoring of the work.

“Unlike last year, when we had started the desilting work on April 24, this year the work had started over a month before. We have tightened the monitoring aspect and taken measures to ensure accountability of the desilting work,” said a civic official.

“The Shiv Sena is in power in the BMC but whenever flooding incident occurs due to heavy rains it passes the buck on civic body officials. Sena leaders only pay visit to the areas where nullah cleaning work is happening just for the sake of garnering publicity. They are not bothered about the hardships faced by Mumbaikars,” said Sushil Shah a Kandivali resident.

“Everytime the BMC claims that it is ready for monsoon but the entire life is thrown out of gear after the onset of first rains. This time too the scenario is going to be no different as we are yet to witness heavy rains. Once rainfall starts various parts of the city gets flooded and it also has an adverse impact on the transportation system,” said Sameer Wadekar a Borivali resident.

Mehta had issued circulars to all assistant commissioners, deputy municipal commissioners and heads of departments to ensure that desilting of drains in the city should happen as per the schedule drawn up by him and it should not be delayed.

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