BMC road scam: How contractors, officials beat the system | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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BMC road scam: How contractors, officials beat the system

How did several contractors, auditors, engineers and civic body officials get away with the Rs352-crore road repairs scam? They simply found a way around a system meant to keep them honest

mumbai Updated: Oct 16, 2016 00:50 IST
Charul Shah
The three-member inquiry committed set up by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to look into the corruption in road work across the city found the department never used an online software  called Liveworks  that tracks every step of the work.
The three-member inquiry committed set up by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to look into the corruption in road work across the city found the department never used an online software called Liveworks that tracks every step of the work.(HT PHOTO)

How did several contractors, auditors, engineers and civic body officials get away with the Rs352-crore road repairs scam? They simply found a way around a system meant to keep them honest, the inquiry panel probing why Mumbai’s roads were so badly built and maintained found.

The three-member inquiry committed set up by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to look into the corruption in road work across the city found the department never used an online software called Liveworks that tracks every step of the work — from the moment materials are collected to the time the roads are laid.

Shitla Prasad Kori, the chief engineer (vigilance), who was part of the three member committee, told the Special Investigation Team probing the BMC road scam that the roads department did not feed any data into the software.

How does the software help? The online system holds details of RMC plants and 200 small or medium routes and 300 major routes vehicles can take to transport these materials. Contractors and engineers log into the system and feed in data. Using this information, any vehicle carrying construction material is monitored from the time it collects the material. This way, the system knows how much RMC or asphalt was used for repairing roads, in which area and when was it used.

The data, however, was never fed into the system.

“The bills raised by contractors have been approved by the consultant and engineers have forwarded them as it is. This shows engineers of the road department had not used the software. Contractors, their representatives, all engineers and assistant engineers, executive engineers, deputy chief executive chief engineers and chief engineers are all responsible for the scam. The engineer in charge of vigilance should have kept a watch on this. But, all this conspired together for the benefit of contractors. Hence this is not merely just negligence, but also irregularities with the intend to extend undue benefits to contractors,” reads Kori’s statement, given in Marathi.

Kori also said they found irregularities in records about the dumping of excavated materials. He said one of the conditions required the contractors to give a receipt from the dumping ground where the excavated material was dumped. “But even after frequent demands, site engineers failed to produce such receipts. This shows the criminal conspiracy between contactors and BMC staff,” Kori said.

Kori has also pointed out several irregularities in the process of dumping excavated material. The contractors have to maintain 43 registers, but all of them, the contractors did not keep a record of removal challan – challan given after removal of excavated material.