Mumbai: The contract award of worth Rs 1,300 crore has been given to a contractor who has been banned by the BMC for seven years on grounds of corruption and shoddy. This contract has been awarded by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), which is also consulting the MMRDA on the work the Mumbai Metro 2A project from Dahisar to DN Nagar.
Before awarding a contract for these projects to this contractor, earlier J Kumar Infra Projects was one of the seven tainted contractors indicted in the Rs 350-crore roads scam that came to light last year. But in a classic case of the left hand not knowing what the right-hand does, DMRC appointed this blacklisted contractor and it is us.
The Andheri Link Road, which is one of the busiest arterial roads in the suburb, is riddled with crater-sized potholes merely 25 days after it was relaid by J Kumar Infra Projects as part of the ongoing work they are doing for the 18.60 kilometer-long Metro.
Prashant Rane, activist and branch head of MNS ward 60 has said to the DMRC raising these points. “They (the contractor) has not learned any lessons and used inferior quality of materials for road work at Andheri Link Road where the utility services have been shifted. This road work was done just 25 days back. It couldn’t sustain eight days of Mumbai rains. Already there are huge craters seen. If the contractor is unable to handle simple roadworks, how will commuters feel safe about this Metro line project? We, as residents, are scared after the recent Andheri Gokhale bridge collapse.”
On its part, the DMRC has reverted back to Rane’s concern. They wrote back to him saying that, “It is accepted that potholes have developed in the recently completed Dense Bituminous Macadam (DBM) works at Adarsh Nagar and in front of Laxmi Industrial Estate. This is because the seal coat could not be provided over DBM before heavy rains. However, efforts are being made to ensure that potholes are being addressed in time so as to cause minimum inconvenience to commuters and provide seal coat as soon as sunny days are available. Their maintenance and rectification will be done by the executing agency at its cost. We regret any inconvenience to you and commuters of Mumbai and assure you that smooth road surface shall be available at above locations within next 15 days.”
A DMRC spokesperson told that the roads which have developed potholes were done at the behest of MMRDA and the BMC, one month prior to monsoon.
“This contractor has been given civil works of Metro via-ducts and this roadwork wasn’t to be carried out by us because it was outside the Metro’s barricade area. It was only this year, on MMRDA’s insistence that we did the roadwork before monsoon outside the barricaded area. The last layer which is a superior layer of Bitumen Macadam wasn’t put by the contractor before completing the work which led to potholes. But it will be rectified and traffic will not be disrupted,” DMRC Project Director PK Sharma said.
He further added that just because they are blacklisted by the BMC doesn’t mean other agencies cannot appoint them. When he was blacklisted the tender contract was still in process. J Kumar Infra project was the lowest, eligible bidder as per tender. MMRDA has also appointed this contractor for other works. This contractor is awarded Rs 1300 crore project and will be responsible for the entire Metro 2A project–for pillars, superstructures (bridges and viaducts) and station buildings.
“We are doing the Metro 2A work and wherever excavation is required we are reinstating it as per the contract requirement. The bitumen work to fix potholes cannot be done during rains. After the intensity of rains reduces, we will fix the potholes,” Kulkarni, Vice President, J Kumar Infra projects said.