While commuters have started using the newly-refurbished Sion-Panvel Highway from Kalamboli to BARC junction in Chembur, minor works are yet to be completed and the state Public Works Department (PWD) plans to penalise the contractor Rs 1 lakh for every day of delay.
The contractor, Sion Panvel Tollways Pvt Ltd, was given three years for completing the work and accordingly, the deadline was May 31, 2014.
Ramesh Agvane, the PWD executive engineer supervising the works, said, “The original deadline was May 31, but some minor works are yet to be completed, so we are planning to impose a penalty for the delay. We have a security deposit of Rs 8.40 crore of the contractor.
The amount of the penalty will be deducted from the security deposit before we refund it once the work is completed.”
Agvane said that although the May 31 deadline has lapsed, the contractor is yet to finish small works such as fixing road signage, sprucing up footpaths, covering drains and beautifying the road median.
A spokesperson from Sion Panvel Tollways said, the company has not received any intimation from the PWD about the imposition of penalty.
Meanwhile, although the road has been recently done-up at a cost of Rs 1,220 crore, a few potholes have already cropped up along the Juinagar stretch and the stretch towards Vashi. “There are about two to three potholes that have formed as the bitumen layer here didn’t get time to settle due to the rains. We have examined the spots and the potholes will be filled as soon as we get a dry patch of two to three days,” Agvane said.
The Sion-Panvel highway improvement project involved widening of the 23-km Sion-Panvel road to 10 lanes and making it signal-free for six lanes. The road has slashed travel time between Kalamboli and BARC junction by more than 30 minutes. The project was recently at the centre of a political controversy with all parties opposing the proposed toll collection on the Sion-Panvel highway though the road improvement project was awarded on a build-operate-transfer basis.
While toll collection was to begin as soon as the work was complete, following demands from all major political parties, especially leaders from the ruling Congress and NCP, the state government has brought about a stay on this toll and constituted a chief secretary-led committee to study the issue.