NMMC HQ jinx continues. Last week, the NMMC Standing Committee cancelled the IVRCL contract to make the NMMC Headquarters as bureaucratic and political apathy resulted in a two year delay in taking off the project. Sources from NMMC say that work will be re-tendered to IVRCL at much higher rate. How big is this loss of public funds? One after the other, NMMC started off various ambitious projects but till date all fail to deliver. The NMMC HQ project is no better of not worse. It was thirteen years ago that NMMC had kept the first foundation stone for its HQ but since then, three locations have been changed even as the HQ remains only in drawings on paper. Our weekend exclusive this week is an insight on the jinx that continues to haunt the NMMC HQ project. 1995 KOPERKHAIRANE 13 years ago, in 1995 NMMC had performed the first bhumipujan for its HQ at Koperkhairane at this sector where today Reliance Beverly Park stands. After the bhumipujan in 1995, NMMC gave the reason of the dumping ground being close to the plot and rejected plot. However, sources say that even at that time this was a conspiracy between local leaders, NMMC, CIDCO and Reliance to give the prime plot to Reliance. Speculations were endorsed when NMMC shut down the dumping ground permanently after Reliance built its residential colony on the plot meant for NMMC HQ. 2000 VASHI After the NMMC HQ proposal of KK died, in the year 2000 the then Municipal Commissioner Mukesh Khullar purchased 2 buildings in sector – 19, Vashi to house the NMMC H.O. and paid Rs. 18.5 Crores to CIDCO for the same. A design of the new HQ building in the twin tower was made. Once he was transferred, the next Commissioner Sunil Soni cancelled the twin tower. Soon, the twin towers were sold to a private builder for over Rs. 63 Crores. The deal was marred with allegations of corruption when it was revealed that the selling bid showed 1 FSI when NMMC could have got 1.5 FSI on the twin towers and the massive stretch of land that came with it. In the sale of the twin towers, NMMC lost minimum Rs. 30 Crores. 2003 BELAPUR Commissioner Sunil Soni zeroed on the plot in Sector 15 A Belapur that fell at the end of Palm Beach Road at the Belapur Uran junction. At that time, CIDCO Chairman Javed Khan verbally agreed that CIDCO would give the plot to NMMC. But an impatient NMMC did not even complete the formalities for taking complete possession of the plot from CIDCO made former Chief Minister of Maharashtra Sushil Kumar Shinde perform the bhumipujan of the project. 2005 BELAPUR From April 2003 to January 2005, NMMC still did not complete the procedure of taking possession of the plot at Belapur, yet the making of the NMMC HQ was tendered to IVRCL for Rs. 39 Crores. JANUARY 2005 – JULY 2008 BELAPUR IVRCL Infrastructures and Projects Ltd.’s bid had proposed to build the NMMC HQ in 18 months. However, from January 2005 till December, for reasons ranging from court cases to technical faults – the project never seeing the light of the day as NMMC failed to tackle the problems on priority. When the problems were finally resolved, the contractor IVRCL started demanding higher rate for the same project. For the last 1 and a half years, NMMC administration was trying to convince the contractor to begin work but the contractor reportedly refused till his bid of Rs. 39 Crores was not increased. AUGUST 2008 At last in the NMMC Standing Committee meet last month, the contract of IVRCL was cancelled. And the Standing Committee approved re-tendering the project. The Opposition however is blaming the ruling NCP for the Crores of extra public taxes that will be drained in a higher bid very soon. Highly placed sources at NMMC informed NMTV News that the HQ contract is again to be retained by IVRCL but at double the cost. A nexus of officials and political persons with IVRCL has already finalized the contract to be re-tendered to IVRCL for over Rs. 80 Crores – something that the Dy. Mayor Shashikant Birajdar does not deny as far as the numbers are concerned. NMMC Leader of the House J D Sutar confesses that the NMMC HQ has become a joke of sorts. So it is quite clear that administrative and political apathy will drain public funds in the NMMC HQ where Rs. 50 Crores could have been saved if the right leadership and administrative focus would not have caused delays in the project.
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