The project of clearing the city of overhead electric wires by laying them underground was one of the most ambitious projects announced by NMMC last year. However, it’s been 11 months to the bhumipujan of the project and the work has still not taken off. What worrisome? NMMC and MSEDC are playing the blame game for the delay putting a question mark on who will be accountable and responsible for the delay and whether action will be taken against the contractor for the delay? During the last Standing Committee meeting, opposition members raised a rather significant issue that has exposed the failure of the NMMC and MSEDC to commence work on one of its most hyped projects – that of laying underground power cables throughout the city. The work was to commence 11 months ago in areas like Agroli village in CBE Belapur and Turbhe but has not taken off till date. It was at this Standing Committee meeting of NMMC that the concerning factors came to light. G V Rao, the Executive Engineer of the Electric Dept at NMMC accepted the delay in the project but strangely voiced confidence that the work will complete within 2 months. G V Rao was quick to back out from taking the responsibility of the delay and blamed MSEDC for it. To the relief of tax paying citizens, the Standing Committee Chairman Anant Sutar was not convinced about the lame excuse being given by G V Rao. He warned the administration and said that if work will not begin at the sites within a week; then strict action should be taken against the contractor. On the other hand, the MSEDC has another story to tell. Perhaps one that was more convincing that what NMMC is saying. Divisional Engineer of MSEDC, C.R. Mishra said that the onus of execution of the project is on NMMC while MSEDC only has been assigned the responsibility of inspecting materials being used by the contractor. Exposing the lackadaisical attitude of NMMC in carrying out the project, C R Mishra informed us that several important permissions in the project are yet to be acquired. In fact, NMMC has not even submitted the plan and diagram of how the work will be executed. Further exposing the lax attitude of NMMC, he informed that in the last 6 months, MSEDC has not been contacted by NMMC in regards to the project. The Divisional Engineer, with reason, blamed NMMC for the delay. Even as NMMC and MSEDC pass the buck of responsibility on each other, the project’s delay has become a cause of concern for locals living in area where overhead electric cables pose as threat to life, especially during monsoon. In the case of Turbhe, the bhumipujan was done in the month of September last year, but the contractor, for reasons best known to NMMC and MSEDC has not commenced work yet. Cable wires that were brought to the area to be laid underground; are damaged. Evidently locals of the area blame NMMC for the apathy and wastage of public funds that is bound to happen due to the delay in commencing the project. Another resident said that it was because the Rs. 52 Crores has been allotted to contractor who has a period of 2 years and perhaps that is why he is finding it difficult to carry out the work in the entire city. Locals believe that its because the time period of 2 years could be another reason why the contractor is showing lax attitude in the execution of the project. This is not the first project of NMMC that has been marred with delay and negligence on part of officials and contractors. However, being one of the most significant and needed projects of NMMC, it will be a wait and watch to see whether NMMC takes action against the contractor if he fails to meet the deadline and if action is not taken against the contractor, then officials of NMMC are made accountable for the same. With bureau inputs, Monika Bhosale for NMTV News.
June 24, 2007
October 3, 2016