Talks on with Centre for more funds: CM

Admitting that there had been a substantial cost escalation in the long-delayed Brihanmumbai Storm Water Drainage Project (Brimstowad),Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said on Monday that even as the state government was discussing with the Centre the possibility of making more funds available,he would chair a special meeting on the progress of works to improve the city’s drainage systems.

Written by Express News Service | Published: July 17, 2012 4:25:43 am

Admitting that there had been a substantial cost escalation in the long-delayed Brihanmumbai Storm Water Drainage Project (Brimstowad),Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said on Monday that even as the state government was discussing with the Centre the possibility of making more funds available,he would chair a special meeting on the progress of works to improve the city’s drainage systems. “If there is any evidence of any wrongdoing,an inquiry will definitely be held,” he said in response to legislators’ demands on individual contracts’ cost variations.

The Brimstowad project cost has risen from Rs 1,200 crore in 2005-’06 to Rs 3,900 crore now,for which a detailed project report has been submitted to the Centre in March this year. The project,which seeks to prevent annual inundation of chronic flooding spots in the city,entails widening and deepening roadside drains and major nullah systems,installing sluice gates and building pumping stations at outfalls.

The project has been under implementation since 1993 when the private consultants first submitted a report and estimated the cost at Rs 696.30 crore. Between 1995 and 2005,the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation undertook works worth Rs 260 crore even as the project cost continued to balloon. Following the July 26 deluge in 2005 and the subsequent fact-finding committee’s report,the incomplete project was sent back for updating to the private consultants. The Centre then agreed,as a special case,to fully fund the remaining works under the project at a fresh cost estimate of Rs 1,200 crore.

Responding to a calling attention motion in the Legislative Assembly,the Chief Minister said the delay in implementation and some technical factors had led the estimated cost of the remaining works to grow to Rs 3,900 crore. “The state government is already in talks with the Centre regarding whether more funds can be made available. If not,we will see how else the required funds can be raised,” he said.

While Congress MLA Aslam Shaikh and MNS MLA Praveen Darekar demanded an enquiry into whether individual contracts’ value had risen substantially after the contracts were awarded,BJP MLA Yogesh Sagar asked whether the government would consider undertaking the rejuvenation of the Oshiwara,Dahisar and Poisar rivers on the lines of the Mithi river project.

“I will chair a special meeting on the Brimstowad project.. We will also consider the possibility of undertaking work on the other rivers,” Chavan said.

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