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BT Investigation

MMRDA favoured private contractor?

Meghna Chukkath, New Delhi, 6/1/2015 


At a time when former ministers and officials in the Maharashtra Government are coming under the scanner for their alleged involvement in graft, documents in the possession of Bureaucracy Today reveal that the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has assigned the job of installing noise barriers on a Mumbai road at inflated rates without the issuance of a tender. 

In an incident which could put the MMRDA under the Anti-Corruption Bureau scanner, documents received through an application filed by Mumbai-based RTI activist Anil Galgali reveal that the Development Authority had favoured a road contractor, J Kumar Infrastructure, with a Rs 18.90 crore order for the specialized work of installing noise barriers on Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Road in Mumbai.

“Neither was the project tendered nor were any negotiations carried out to execute this specialized and sensitive work. The work was awarded unilaterally to J Kumar Infrastructure at a highly inflated rate of Rs 12,500 per sq metre,” Galgali says quoting the RTI replies.

Presently, the market rates for installing noise barriers in Mumbai are between Rs 9,500 and Rs 10, 500 per sq metre. Industry experts believe that had the work been tendered by the agency, it would have saved around Rs 4 to Rs 5 crore of public funds. 

MMRDA sources have informed Bureaucracy Today that the Authority awarded the work to the road contractor for a higher value of Rs 18.90 crore as an “extra item” in spite of the flyover being opened to traffic more than two years ago. 

As per the RTI documents,  the T & C Division of the MMRDA awarded the work order to J Kumar Infrastructure on October 21, 2014 for Rs 18.90 crore for providing noise barriers on the Sion Hospital flyover, the King’s Circle flyover and the Hindmata flyover on Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Road without following any official protocol. 

Galgali claims that earlier also the MMRDA had favoured J Kumar Infrastructure and assigned it the  Rs 5.74 crore Dahisar Railway overbridge noise barrier project without calling a tender. Galgali has written to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Secretary Swadhin Kshtriya and MMRDA Metropolitan Commissioner UPS Madan urging them to cancel the work order allotted to the private firm immediately and initiate a probe into the matter. 
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