Mumbai: BMC chief Iqbal Singh Chahal hits back at Aaditya Thackeray over corruption charges

Mumbai: BMC chief Iqbal Singh Chahal hits back at Aaditya Thackeray over corruption charges

Iqbal Singh Chahal said due process was followed and tenders awarded to contractors with measures to ensure quality

Kalpesh MhamunkarUpdated: Friday, May 12, 2023, 12:35 AM IST
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Mumbai civic chief Iqbal Singh Chahal | File

BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal has refuted all allegations made by Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Aaditya Thackeray over “irregularities in BMC tenders and projects”. Chahal clarified that all projects are “implemented as per rules and regulations, without any misconduct or irregularities in the bidding process”.

'No contractor has stopped work due to shortage of material'

Over shortage of gravel and monopoly of one contractor, Chahal said, “The allegations are baseless. No contractor responsible for cement concrete work has stopped work due to a shortage of material. No issue regarding hiked gravel prices has been raised by any contractor.”

'Appropriate responses have been provided on the allegations'

The BMC chief said that the corporators’ term ended March 7, 2022, and the state government appointed him as the administrator of the civic body. He said he has diligently fulfilled the responsibilities bestowed upon him. “Appropriate responses have been provided on the allegations through various channels, legal forums, correspondence, media and social platforms. All allegations of financial misconduct, mismanagement, irregularities and contractor favouritism stand completely unsubstantiated and baseless,” he said.

Chahal makes his point very clear

Chahal further clarified that the contract to concretise the 400km road network was given to firms that met the eligibility criteria. “The rates had been increased because no contractor was ready to work within the BMC’s 2018 scheduled rates,” he said, emphasising that stringent conditions were included in the tenders to monitor and maintain quality.

He said even the street furniture tender process was implemented under the online SAP system as per the prevailing terms and conditions to achieve uniformity in 19 BMC departments.

‘Pedestrian First Policy’

The estimated cost for the road furniture project was nearly Rs263 crore but the first lowest tenderer had quoted Rs276.5 crore, which was 4.96% more than the estimated cost. Negotiations were conducted and the tender price was fixed with 0.01% less than the estimated cost. He said all works were supervised and executed by the deputy chief engineer (traffic) who is well versed with the ‘Pedestrian First Policy’ which has a defect liability period of nearly 10 years.

Addressing the sanitary pad vending and incinerator machine, he said, “Considering that many public toilets are located in slum areas, sanitary pad vending and incinerator machines have been set up there. As per a survey conducted by the Solid Waste Management Department, it was determined that the vending and incinerator machines will be installed in 5,000 out of the 8,173 public toilets. The responsibility of operating, maintaining, and refilling these machines for the next three years has been given to contractors. The BMC invited tenders and the lowest bidder was given the work.”

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