Opposition leaders stalled House over awarding of project contract
Beleaguered by accusations of nepotism and corruption, Maharashtra Public Works Department (PWD) Minister Chhagan Bhujbal on Monday refuted any venality in awarding contracts to construct the Maharashtra Sadan building in New Delhi.
Making a personal clarification in the State Assembly on Monday, Mr. Bhujbal said the State government had decided to appoint Messrs. K.S. Chamankar as the developer for the project in 2006-07.
Mr. Bhujbal’s reply came after Opposition leaders kicked up a rumpus in the House, stalling proceedings twice.Opposition parties in the State, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party, have accused the Minister of awarding the project contract to the developer on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis, while giving Chamankar the development rights of a slum plot at Andheri without inviting tenders.
The developer had been given a saleable area of 2,36,780 sq. ft. in return for construction work amounting to Rs.100 crore that included projects like the construction of the Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi (1,70,707 sq. ft.), the High Mount Guest House in South Mumbai (47,613 sq. ft.) and the Regional Transport Office and transit camp in Andheri (75,460 sq. ft.),” Mr. Bhujbal said, adding that the State Cabinet met twice, in May and in August 2006, before the project was approved.
Opposition leaders have alleged a Rs.-100-crore overrun in the construction of the Maharashtra Sadan, and that companies fronted by Mr. Bhujbal’s relatives were appointed as sub-contractors.
The prices for the Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) in 2006-07 were between Rs.1,500-Rs.2,000 per sq. ft. at the time of the project’s approval, said Mr. Bhujbal. He said when the project took off the rates had shot up to Rs.4,200 per sq. ft.
This increase had not put any pressure on the State exchequer, he said.
He reiterated that there was no corruption and the government had nothing to do with who got the subcontracts.
Mr. Bhujbal said the Opposition was trying to malign him and the government by alleging scam and spreading canards about the project.
State Assembly Speaker Dilip Walse-Patil said there would be detailed discussion on the issue on Tuesday or the day after.