CM Eknath Shinde Rejects Probe in BMC Road Contracts Amidst Controversy

This decision comes after allegations of delays, fines imposed on contractors, and cost reductions in road construction projects.

CM Eknath Shinde Rejects Probe in BMC Road Contracts Amidst Controversy

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde responded in writing to Shiv Sena (UBT) MLC Ambadas Danve's question in a recent legislative council session that there would be no investigation into Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials' conduct concerning the INR 6,080 crores CC road tendering process and contract awards. According to Shinde, there were no irregularities in the process.

Moreover, Shinde revealed that the BMC had imposed fines on three of the five companies involved in the CC road projects due to delays and violations of tender terms. These fines amounted to INR 16 crore. This affected companies responsible for constructing some of the 397 km of CC roads in the city. Notably, the BMC had not released the INR 600 crore mobilisation advance to these contractors.

According to reports, former BJP corporator Makrand Narwekar expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of response from the BMC roads department. He may even escalate the matter to the Lokayukta.

Narwekar was concerned about the progress of the CC road projects in South Mumbai. He claimed that no significant construction had occurred. He called for the cancellation of the contract, citing the failure to meet deadlines. According to him, only one stretch of road had been completed between January and June. This is far from the target of fifty spans before the monsoon.

CM Shinde had initially set a goal of concreting all Mumbai roads within two years after assuming office in August 2022. However, the BMC's road contracts faced challenges. Initially, there was limited interest from contractors. When tenders were reissued in November 2022, the quoted prices exceeded BMC's projections by 6–8%. The winning contractors were asked to lower their prices but declined. As a result, BMC unilaterally instructed them to proceed "on par." This has led to a cost reduction of nearly INR 400 crore.

The contract terms stipulated a 10% mobilisation advance for the companies, divided into two payments of INR 300 crore each. The first installment was to be released after setting up field offices and commencing foundation work. The remainder will be released upon the submission of detailed expenditure reports on raw materials like steel and cement. However, due to the issuance of notices and fines, the INR 600 crore mobilisation advance remained withheld.

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