The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) has imposed a penalty of Rs 3.5 crore per day (starting from September 1) on the contractors of the Versova-Bandra Sealink project for non-achievement of work. A copy of the ‘penalty imposed’ notice is with The Free Press Journal.
The notice has pointed out that all necessary support was given to the contractors to ensure that the project work began, including the extension of time that was sought amid the Covid-19 pandemic situation. Despite this the work was not completed and therefore, as per the contract agreement, the contractors are liable for the payment of damages to the authority - a sum calculated at the rate of 0.05 per cent of the contract price for each day of delay reckoned from the date till the achievement of Milestone 1, with effect from September 1, 2021.
The MSRDC had given an extension of 250 days on account of change of land for the casting yard because of the Bombay High Court order in CRZ (Coastal Regulation Zone) matter, the notice stated. Further, an extension of 184 days was given in view of the pandemic situation. Considering the extensions given, the MSRDC had approved the new baseline programme on December 13, 2020 and accordingly, the scheduled date of completion of Milestone 1 was August 31, 2021. But so far, there has only been 0.62 per cent of physical progress and 2.055 per cent of financial progress as against the target of 5 per cent, even after the payment of mobilisation advances of over Rs 203.26 crore.
According to MSRDC officials, the imposed penalty will be encashed through the performance security Bank Guarantee of worth Rs 350 crore given by the contractor for this project. Also, an additional 10 per cent of bank guarantee is taken on mobilisation of advances.
Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra) Limited-Astaldi S.P.A (Italy), the joint venture contractors for the VBSL project, had signed an agreement with the MSRDC in September 2018, for the construction of the VBSL in Mumbai. The partnership was widely reported in the media as Astaldi S.P.A, is the world’s third largest player in bridge construction. They had bagged the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the Rs 7,000-crore project on a competitive bid basis. In fact, at a press conference, Reliance Infrastructure had guaranteed to deliver the project in 60 months from the appointed date of June 24, 2019, as per the contract.
The 17.17km-long VBSL, three times the length of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link (5.6km), is expected to cut down the commute time for Mumbaikars from over 90 minutes to just 10 minutes.
MSRDC Vice Chairman and Managing Director Radheshyam Mopalwar was not available for comment.
No reply received from Reliance Infra at the time of going to the press.
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