The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has initiated action against a contractor for allegedly refusing to construct a transit camp for a civic market, which include setting up temporary sheds for fish and meat sellers, on ground of religion.
The firm, M/s Pyramid Construction Company, had bagged a Rs 80.88 lakh contract for setting up a transit camp for Harishchandra Chemburkar market in Chembur Naka after the market was declared extremely dilapidated and was slated for redevelopment.
The contractor, however, refused to take up the work citing that they could not carry out the construction as they are Jains. Cracking the whip on the contractor, the BMC has decided to forfeit Earnest Deposit Money or token money of the contractor for not taking up the work.
According to officials, the civic body will have to pay Rs 8 lakh extra for the same work as the second lowest contractor, Matoshri Construction Company, has agreed to do the work for Rs 88 lakh.
“Since the Chembur Market will go through redevelopment, a tender was invited for appointing a contractor for constructing a transit camp at nearby open plot in Chembur Naka where all licence holders would be shifted. Pyramid Construction bagged the contract as it quoted 8 per cent below the estimated cost of the civic body. However, later the contractor refused to take up the work saying they are from the Jain community and since the work includes construction of sheds for fish and meat sellers they cannot do it,” a senior BMC official said.
The official added that now the BMC has negotiated with the second lowest bidder, who had quoted 7 per cent higher against the estimated amount. “Following the negotiation, Matoshri agreed to work on the estimated cost. We are in process of forfeiting the EMD of the Pyramid Construction for denying to do the work,” the officer said.
The contract includes construction of galas for shop owners, besides water tank, pump house, toilets and other civil and electrical works. The contractor has to complete the work within six months.
On Monday, there was an uproar in the Standing Committee meeting when the proposal came up for approval. Committee chairman, Yashwant Jadhav, directed the administration to initiate blacklisting proceedings against the contractor for refusing the work on such a ground. “This is not acceptable. How can a company deny the work on the basis of religion? Also, the company must have read the contract’s scope before bidding but still they participated in the contract and now when work was allotted to them they refused to do it. Civic administration should blacklist this company,” Jadhav said.