The state public works department (PWD) on Thursday removed Executive Engineer Shrikant Bangar, who was holding the additional charge of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial Project, from the post. He has been replaced by SS Borse, the executive engineer attached to the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation.
Sources in the PWD claimed that the move has raised eyebrows in the department as Bangar’s charge was taken away just days after he opposed releasing the mobilisation advance to the contractor of the project, citing the Supreme Court’s recent order to stop work on the memorial.
According to the contract agreement, the mobilisation advance has been pegged at Rs 144 crore — five per cent of the total contract cost of Rs 2,890 crore, an official said.
On January 11, the Supreme Court, while hearing a special leave petition, had orally asked the state not to proceed with the construction activity and also issued a notice seeking its response.
Following this, the PWD on Tuesday had asked the project contractor to stop work with immediate effect.
On Wednesday, the issue of mobilisation advance was discussed in a meeting called by Vinayak Mete, chairman of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial Project Implementation, Monitoring and Co-ordination Committee. In the meeting, the officials of the state law and judiciary department said that no payment should be made to the contractor due to the stop work order, said an official.
Sources said Borse is likely to take charge on Saturday. Bangar, who took additional charge of the memorial project division on November 30, would continue in his regular posting of executive engineer of the Thane creek bridge department of the PWD.
A PWD official said: “It is good that the project division has got a full-time executive engineer. The proposal was pending for long. A full-time executive engineer is needed with the government planning to focus on the memorial work.”
On October 8, The Indian Express had reported how the project does not have a full-time executive engineer since January 2018 and several posts of deputy engineers and junior engineers are lying vacant.
In all, the five executive engineers, who were given additional charge of the project division, have been replaced since January last year.