In what can only be termed as corruption having a free-run in the offices of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh, especially in the public health department, officials doubled the tender amount paid to contractors, for works that were never carried out in the first place. The doubling of the payout from the MC coffers to the contractors has occurred in at least 15 projects over the past six months, HT has learnt.
The majority of such decisions have been taken in Manimajra and Mauli Jagran. The issue of fictious works being allotted had been highlighted by HT in a five-part series, recently.
What raises eyebrows further is that in all the cases where the payout was doubled, the tender was allotted to only two firms, M/s Passionate at Jangpura village, Banur, SAS Nagar and M/s Giant Engineer, Rajpura.
HT has learnt that these firms are sister concerns and are managed by an operator with the UT public health department.
Cases where enhancement was done
The tender amount (eventually paid) was enhanced from `1.90 lakh to `3.43 lakh for maintenance of sewerage system in Manimajra in October.
In another work of similar nature, also in October and in Manimajra, the payout raised from `70,000 to `1.42 lakh.
For repair of manholes, sewer lines and road gullies at Manimajra, two tenders were floated in October and payouts enhanced from `74,000 to `1.24 lakh and from `82,000 to `1.53 lakh, respectively.
In September, the amount to be paid for providing excavator machine with staff for excavation and cleaning of N-choe/ nallah at Vikas Nagar in Mauli Jagran was enhanced from `97,000 to `1.73 lakh. In the case of cleaning of IC chamber of sewer lines, the sanctioned amount raised to `3.73 lakh from `2.81 lakh.
Officials who took the decision
Records show that during the execution of the said works in Manimajra, the in charges were former executive engineer, Jaspal Singh, sub -divisional engineer, Manimajra, Gurmukh Singh and junior engineer, ID Sharma. At Mauli Jagran, it was sub- divisional engineer, Amit Sharma and junior engineer Rajinder Singh.
Of these, Amit Sharma has the dual charge of SDE public health, sub-division number, 13, sector 11 and sub-division number 5, at Sector 32 of the metre section and the additional charge of maintenance of water supply and sewerage system at Mauli Jagran.
Layered process for increasing payout. How was this allowed?
A senior official of the MC, on the condition of anonymity, said, to get any enhancement proposal passed, the SDE prepares the note, which is recommended by the executive engineer and finally approved by MC superintendent engineer. The question is was it followed in these works?
BJP councillor, Satinder Singh alleged an official-contractor nexus seemed to be at work as enhancement was done, even where there was an option of inviting fresh tenders.
MC chief engineer Mukesh Anand said, “I have sought a report from the public health department on the issue which will be made available in a day or two. Action will be taken once I receive the report.”