PROJECTS STUCK SINCE BHUJBAL ERA TO RESUME
Twelve years after contracts were awarded for three projects, which later became collateral damage of corruption allegations against the then Public Works Department (PWD) minister Chhagan Bhujbal, the department is finally moving towards restarting the stuck work. Work on the High Mount guest house, Andheri RTO and Kalina Library would soon be taken over from the contractors by the PWD and built using government funds.
The projects were stuck due to investigation by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED). We will now pay the contractor for whatever civil work has been completed and take charge of the project. The government will bear the cost of the projects," PWD secretary (constructions) Ajit Sagane told Mirror.
The projects were the brainchild of Bhujbal who is now lodged in Arthur Road jail over money laundering and corruption charges related to these projects.
While the work on the High Mount guest house for VVIPs and the Andheri RTO was awarded to Ms Chamankar Developers, work on the Kalina Library was being undertaken by Indiabulls.
Chamankar Developers, which also won the contract for constructing the Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi, abandoned work after the ACB registered cases against Bhujbal, his family members. The builder had secured the contract for the redevelopment of Andheri RTO and quarters for its staff, the guest house and Maharashtra Sadan in lieu of massive Floor Space Index (FSI) granted for redevelopment of nearby slums.
The developer completed work on the Andheri RTO but the testing track and quarters which were part of it are yet to be built. The guest house project is incomplete while Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) project was rejected later.
K S Chamankar, who owns Ms Chamankar Developers, was unavailable for comment.
We asked govt to take over work'
Work on the 16,188 square metres Kalina Library project, which was being developed by Indiabulls Developers, also came to a standstill following corruption charges. In 2015, ACB has registered offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act and IPC after investigation showed that a trust floated by the Bhujbal family received kickbacks to the tune of Rs 2.5 crore from the developer. The AC library was to be built at a cost of Rs 82.49 crore in 2007. As part of the deal, the builder was supposed to get 7,000 square metres of built area which the firm could use on a 99-year lease.
"We wrote to the government, asking them to take over the project," said Gagan Banga, the chief executive officer of Indiabulls.
Executive engineer (BOT projects) Nitin Tongaonkar confirmed this. "Our officers have planned to take over projects. We will move the cabinet for this shortly," he said.
Probe all the cases: Damania
Social activist Anjali Damania said the allotment of land for the Andheri RTO is a major case and called for a thorough probe. "It is a Rs 3,000 crore land which was given in return for work on the Rs 75 crore Maharashtra Sadan project. The State should pay the company this money, take back the land and auction it. It will be a huge revenue for the state," said Damania.
"It is high time that the lands and projects granted to these politicians be taken over and they be penalised for the same."
Source: India Times