‘Usual suspect’ contractors get Rs 621-cr tenders

The BMC standing committee Monday approved awarding Rs 621.35 crore island city tenders to contractors who have long been responsible for Mumbai's bad roads. The amount is almost Rs 100 crore more than the BMC's estimated amount of Rs 530 crore.

Blacklisted contractor R P Shah or R P S Infraprojects of the BMC, in joint ventures with other companies, has been awarded two contracts, collectively worth around Rs 320 crore for asphalting and concretising roads in the island city.

The move comes despite a directive from Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan's office stating that the BMC should not grant contracts to downgraded contractors. R P Shah was downgraded from AA to A by BMC's building proposal department in 2011 for poor construction in a civic school. Such a downgrade restricts the firm from bidding for projects over Rs 7 crore for two years. This two-year restriction period for the firm coincidentally ended in January 2013, paving the way for the award of the projects.

In the meeting, MNS corporator Sandip Deshpande opposed awarding the contracts to the same old contractors. "How can we allow the same companies to get the contracts? In all contracts awarded so far, the same contractors have been awarded work even though some of them such as R P Shah are blacklisted. What is the BMC doing about this?" he said.

BJP leader and corporator Dilip Patel suggested a survey of the road projects should be carried out before awarding the work. "We should go for a site visit to the all the areas where road construction work will take place to have a better idea of the extent of the road projects," said Patel. However, the ruling Shiv Sena party passed the tender proposal and awarded the four contracts for asphalting and concretising work without further discussion. Work orders will be issued in the next 15 days after which road construction work will finally begin.

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