Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation commissioner Tukaram Mundhe has ordered a special audit on the escalated cost of construction, including Rs5 crore for electrification.
The top officials of the engineering department will have a lot to answer over the alleged irregularities in the project.
An NMMC source said, “The findings of the audit could mean a lot of trouble for some. The opposition should not have any problems as they have long been demanding a probe.”
The NMMC runs around 70 schools in the city. No other school in the city has incurred such a huge expense for construction.
The original cost of the threephased construction was Rs15.67 crore but eventually rose to Rs25 crore over the years.
While the overall hike is of around 60%, in individual tenders it has even gone up to 100%. Electrification will cost Rs5 crore.
There will be furniture and fittings cost which the NMMC sources say could be almost 50% of the construction cost, taking the project cost to over Rs40 crore.
The construction of the school that began in 2009 is yet to be completed.
It has also come to fore that the tenders allotted for the three phases of construction were above the estimate by 20% to a whopping 55%. The cost escalated in all the three phases are because of delays.
All the three contracts were awarded to Unique Constructions.
An NMMC official said, “Despite no demand either by the education committee or the school management, it was decided that the new school will be a ground plus five storey structure. Questions are also being asked why the entire work was not taken at one go as is the usual practice and the need for three phases of construction through three different tenders.”
Former municipal commissioner Vijay Nahata had announced a school vision for civic schools. It was decided to renovate or rebuild 53 primary and 17 secondary school that were run in 42 buildings.
While Rs1.5 crore to Rs2 crore were allocated for each of the other schools’ renovation and redevelopment, the Kopar Khairane school was planned as a modern state-of-the-art school.
With the total cost of the construction coming to Rs25 crore and an additional Rs5 crore approved for electrification work and more required for furniture, Mundhe has asked for a detailed investigation of the tender process. The opposition parties have for long been questioning the escalated cost being incurred on the school.
It has raised the issue in the standing committee and the general body over the years.
In July this year, a Shiv Sena delegation led by former municipal commissioner Vijay Nahata met Mundhe over the issue.
Nahata had then said, “We took up the issue of the cost overruns of the school construction cost from Rs2.67 crore to over Rs30 crore in sector 11 of Bonkode, Kopar Khairane area. We have never heard of any school costing this much.”