CORPORATORS ACROSS party lines have demanded an inquiry into the contract for the repair and restoration of the headquarters of the BMC due to cost escalation and delay in completion of works.
While the work commenced in 2009, the contractor has completed only 25 per cent of the work on the six-storey building. The civic administration has now come up with a proposal to give the contractor an additional Rs 34 crore for changes and newly added works at a revised cost of Rs 119 crore. A proposal tabled in the Standing Committee for approval has been put on hold.
The original cost of the renovation work on the BMC headquarters at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, which is a Grade IIA heritage structure, was Rs 85 crore with a deadline of three years.
On Wednesday, Samajwadi Party corporator Rais Shaikh alleged that there was a lot of mismanagement in the ongoing work and questioned the 40 per cent variation in the original cost.
“The BMC’s own circular says there should not be more than 15 per cent variation in the original cost. But in this particular case, they are going for 40 per cent increase. The civic administration is contradicting its own circular. There should be an inquiry, and an audit needs to be done on completed work,” said Shaikh, while speaking at the Standing Committee meeting.
Congress corporator Asif Zakaria said, “There were a lot of changes made to the original contract. This is surprising that the civic body did not factor them in while preparing the estimate at the initial level.”
The issue was supported by BJP and NCP corporators as well. Following this, Standing Committee chairperson Yashwant Jadhav decided to put the proposal on hold.
According to the proposal, the estimated contract period was 36 months and included all major improvements, interior designing of different departments, repair of passages, lift lobbies, staircases and beautification of the surrounding areas measuring 2.03 lakh square feet from the ground floor to the sixth floor. After the fire in Mantralaya, however, work on 1.16 lakh square feet was designed considering fire prevention.
Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani said, “Due to works added at later stages, the cost has escalated. Also, delay in work is mainly due to work being done when the building is occupied. Now, repair work on the first and sixth floors remains.”
The proposal further states that repair work in 55,020 square feet area, work in departments on ground, first and sixth floors, waterproofing of terrace, improvement of reading hall, lift lobby, staircases, beautification of the entrance are pending.