An uphill fight to stay beautiful | delhi | Hindustan Times
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An uphill fight to stay beautiful

delhi Updated: Oct 21, 2010 23:10 IST
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Smooth, dust-free roads were built and a part of the city look was given world-class makeover, all for the Commonwealth Games.

But given the civic agencies track record till now, it may be hard to keep these roads in their current form. Though the civic agencies are now contemplating creation of special teams and funds for maintenance of infrastructure developed especially for the Games, it is certainly going to be a challenge for them.

Though some projects have been have been executed under the Built Operate and Transfer (BOT) module putting the onus of maintenance on the private companies, in case of any laxity the civic agencies hesitate to take any action against the contractors.

For instance, whenever a work is awarded to a contractor for constructing a road it has a provision of imposing a penalty of 10 per cent if the road wears off too soon.

Sources, however, said the provision has hardly been used by the civic agencies in the past. Though a number of roads developed potholes within days of been laid or re-laid, the MCD has only penalised three contractors in the past five years.

For repairing damaged roads in the city, the MCD has spent R32.23 crore from its own kitty in the past five years. “Disciplinary action is taken against the contractors usually and we have forfeited R8.5 lakh from the contractors for not doing quality work too,” said a senior MCD official.

Senior Public Works Department officials, however, agree that it is difficult to levy heavy penalty on contractors. “There are only a limited number of companies that carry out road construction or carpeting at such large scale. If we blacklist them or initiate legal action, it will get difficult for us to complete our projects," a senior PWD engineer said, requesting anonymity.

The engineer, however, added that security money is sometimes forfeited and the contractors’ payment is delayed if they carry out shoddy work.

And it's not just the roads that run the risk of neglect. The maintenance of cleanliness levels of the city is also under question.

Though the MCD received several complaints about the private contractors who manage door-to-door garbage collection in the city, it is yet to implement its plan of blacklisting the firms.

“We had received a lot of complaints about their functioning and are trying to improve them. In many cases, we are planning to ask them to replace the damaged dustbins," said a senior MCD official.

Senior officials agree that special efforts will be required to maintain assets that have been created in past four years. Officials said all contracts were covered under warranty for one year and any damage during that time will be repaired by the contractor concerned free of cost.

“We will soon have a special team that will look into regular maintenance," a senior engineer said.

MCD spokesperson said a special fund for maintenance purpose would be set up should the need arise.

“A number of our projects were executed under the BOT system. We will ensure that private firms maintain them properly," said Deep Mathur, director press and information, MCD.

“The commissioner has also given directions to senior officers to ensure that the same level of cleanliness which was visible during the Games should be maintained throughout,” he added.