COMMUTERS TRAVELLING on the Eastern and Western Express Highway are set to have a bumpy ride this monsoon as the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is facing a tough task in finding a contractor to conduct pre-monsoon road repairs on the highways. After receiving poor response for two bid invitations, the MMRDA now plans to go for a third call to finalise a contractor. According to the MMRDA, it is the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) ban on quarries in Thane that is causing the trouble.
“Due to the ban on the quarries in Thane, the bidders do not have the construction material. The contractors can get the material from Palghar or Raigarh. It will escalate the costs but we have to get it done from somewhere,” said Pravin Darade, Additional Metropolitan Commissioner, MMRDA.
However, they are confident that once the tender is issued the work will not take too long and the roads will be ready in time for monsoon. “It is the paperwork that takes a long time. It takes only around a week to complete pre-monsoon work and there is ample time for that,” said an MMRDA engineer.
The work on desilting the nullahs has already begun and almost 20 per cent of it has been completed.
The two arterial roads were handed over by the PWD to the MMRDA in mid-April.
Tenders that were invited first on May 4 and then again on May 13 for the pre-monsoon repair works received an abysmal response – the second call receiving only a single response.
Before making the third call, the MMRDA plans to change certain conditions to attract more bidders. “We will allow the contractor to hire machinery for the repair work. In the previous tender it was necessary that he owns his own machinery. This might help us get more bidders,” said the engineer.
Over 70 quarries were shut down in Navi Mumbai on March 30 due to lack of necessary environmental permissions and a pending NGT case. The ban has affected road repairs in the city as contractors are falling short of construction aggregate.