The arrest of three engineers of Delhi’s civic agency on Thursday may only be the tip of the iceberg. The arrests were made in connection with the construction of a sub-standard road in Old Rajinder Nagar.
Sources in the Anti-corruption Branch said on Friday that 15 more engineers with the Municipal Corporation of Delhi are likely to be arrested in the case. The Anti-corruption Branch is also planning to book the contractor.
10 more engineers were arrested in connection with other cases and embezzlement of funds.
“There are nearly 15 engineers, that includes junior engineers and assistant engineers, who will be arrested soon. Our next target is the contractor who had a major role to play in construction of substandard roads. We will book him for criminal conspiracy,” said a senior official.
Many MCD engineers have already taken anticipatory bail.
The Vigilance Department of the civic agency confirmed that they too are investigating into a number of cases against their engineers for using inferior quality material for construction of roads. “We have received some complaints and are investigating the cases,” said an official.
“The road from Salwan Public School to School Marg was repaired but there are still many roads in our area that are in a bad condition. I have filed a complaint with the MCD. If they fail to take action, we will have to use the RTI once again,” said SP Gupta, who had filed an RTI in 2004 after he found the road from Salwan Public School to School Marg in Old Rajinder Nagar in a very bad condition.
Driving in the city is a nightmarish experience because of the potholes but the civic agency has adopted a lenient attitude towards the contractors.
As many as 42 roads constructed in the last five years have worn out before the warranty period, but the civic body has blacklisted only four contractors till date. And, only 21 contractors were issued notices to reconstruct the roads.
“We have blacklisted one contractor this year for constructing bad roads. We have also served notices to contractors in the past for using sub-standard material,” said MCD spokesman Deep Mathur.
Meanwhile, the MCD engineers will hold indefinite dharna to protest against the arrest of their colleagues.
The engineers held protests outside the MCD commissioner’s office on Friday demanding intervention in the matter and immediate relief for their colleagues.
“The arrests are politically motivated. The Delhi Government has targeted mainly junior engineers,” said AP Khan, general secretary, Forum for MCD engineers. He said the MCD has its own vigilance system and, if required, the officials should be tried by the civic body’s Anti corruption Bureau.
MCD Commissioner KS Mehra maintained that the engineers have to serve a notice before going on a strike. “They can’t go on a strike just like that and a proper channel has to be followed,” said Mehra.