iconimg Friday, July 31, 2015

Kunal Purohit, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, December 10, 2012
After having introduced a Swiss-based firm to conduct a third-party audit of the city’s road work, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is in talks with at least two more firms to have them conduct audits of major civic projects in the city. This includes a French firm, Bureau Veritas India Private Ltd.

In addition to SGS India Private Ltd, the Swiss-based firm appointed to monitor and audit the on-going road work, the civic body is talking to Bureau Veritas and a government of India body, the Engineers India Limited. Once it finalises modalities with these firms, it will form a panel with all these bodies in it. The firms will then be allotted major civic projects to inspect, monitor and audit on a rotational basis.

SGS’s entry as third-party auditors rattled many, including contractors and civic officials. As Hindustan Times has reported, SGS’s damning findings and its reports submitted to the civic body exposed how contractors were trying to cut corners and make sub-standards roads.

With more independent third-party auditors coming, there is hope that civic projects might not be compromised for quality by errant contractors and officials.

Confirming this development, chief accountant (finance) Ram Dhas, who is working on creating a system of empanelling these bodies said, “We are currently in talks with these bodies. We are trying to figure out the exact scope of work that we can allot to these firms for them to monitor and audit. A final decision will be taken in the next 8-10 days.”

According to senior civic officials, the emphasis while finalising companies will be on their staff strength. “Very often, third-party auditors don’t have adequate staff strength and therefore recruit local staff and quality sometimes gets compromised.”

Once this panel is in place, the civic body will employ these firms on various civic projects, irrespective of the department to which they belong. The immediate point of focus for this panel will be the audit of re-laying of 72 roads in the western contractors, which has been allotted to contractors for Rs. 390 crore.