Shelar calls for probe into “irregularities”, municipal commissioner clarifies no wrong has taken place
Geetanjali Minhas | September 7, 2021 | Mumbai
Alleging financial irregularities to the tune of Rs 1,000 Crore in the construction of the Coastal Road in Mumbai, Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Ashish Shelar has demanded an investigation, but the BrihanMumbai municipal corporation (BMC) has replied to his allegations point by point, claiming there is no basis to them.
Shelar on Monday claimed that mud purchased from unregistered and non- licensed quarries and low-quality material used for reclamation resulted in massive damage during the Tauktae and Nisarga cyclones and the material was washed away. He claimed that the contractor ferried overloaded trucks in violation of traffic norms, and bogus trips were shown against which bills were cleared.
“Between October 2018 and December 2020, the state government and BMC have been defrauded of Rs 684 crore. The fraud and illegality pertain to 33 lakh tonnes of reclamation filling material taken from unlicensed quarries causing loss of Rs 437 crore to the state and BMC paid an additional Rs 48.4 crore for procuring high-density filling material in violation of its own tender. 35,000 bogus trips to ferry material have been shown and a charge of Rs 81 crore has still not been recovered for trucks carrying overloaded materials,” he told a press conference.
“Has the scam happened with the blessings of the standing committee of the BMC? Was Shiv Sena involved in it? The BJP will reveal the names of the contractors but the Sena must clear its stand first as the ruling party in the civic body,” he said.
Shelar said he had written to BMC commissioner IS Chahal and also demanded that BMC or the state must order a probe by a special investigation team (SIT).
In a point-by-point rebuttal, the BMC has stated that the materials required for the filling of the beach road Phase-1 have been taken from the mine approved by the consultant. Royalties are mutually paid by the mine owner. The material used for filling is as per the specification in the contract. This material has been tested from time to time, so the question of additional recovery does not arise.
“The above is the detailed clarification of BMC to various allegations made regarding alleged corruption in the Coastal Road project as reported in certain section of the media today [Monday] afternoon. All allegations are absolutely baseless and that too made on a day when 1 km of tunnel length got completed under Malabar Hill,” said municipal commissioner Chahal.
The 10-km stretch of coastal road between Princess Street Flyover and Worli-end of Bandra-Worli sea link is expected to be ready by July 2023. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the tunnel boring machine (TBM) arrived late from China, resulting in delay of construction work.
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