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Foundation of 200 roads in Mumbai weak: Report

mumbai Updated: Mar 14, 2017 10:22 IST
Chetna Yerunkar
bmc

An earlier report, which investigated 34 roads and found similar irregularities, points to a nexus between officials and contractors(HT)

The second and final civic body report in the 2015 roads scam has revealed irregularities such as contractors using fewer materials in the foundation layer of 200 roads in the city. According to the civic body’s guidelines, these materials were supposed to increase the lifespan of the roads.

An earlier report, which investigated 34 roads and found similar irregularities, points to a nexus between officials and contractors. It is likely to be submitted to the civic chief, Ajoy Mehta, soon, according to a source.

All the contractors involved in carrying out the works, worth Rs1,700 crore, on these 200 roads, will now face action. Last November, Mehta had said all the contractors found guilty in the report will be blacklisted from working on civic contracts. After the first phase of the inquiry report, where 34 roads were inspected, was out in May last year, the civic chief had ordered the blacklisting of six contractors and an FIR was also filed against them. Now, ten other contractors are likely to face similar action.

According to sources, an average of 30% to 50% of the materials in the crest layer of the road was found to be missing in comparison to the conditions laid down in the tenders. This is similar to what was found in the 34 roads investigated earlier.

A senior civic officer said, “The detailed probe report – second phase of roads inquiry — is also similar to the earlier one, where there are no problems on the surface of these roads, but serious malpractices are noticed in the foundation layer. The amount of irregularities does vary, but a fraud will be charged as a fraud, irrespective of its quantum and uniform action will be taken.”

Last year, the civic body had also decided to withhold payments worth Rs900 crore to 16 contractors, of which Rs572 crore was held back owing to the malpractices in the crest layers, as a precautionary measure.

According to sources, not many officials are likely to be under the scanner, as the civic body has already filed a complaint and got the senior-most officer of the roads department — chief engineer, roads — arrested last year for conniving with contractors.

According to a source, the report was completed during before the elections, but was not submitted as it could have been termed as a violation of the code of conduct. Mehta had earlier asked officials to rework the report to make it unambiguous while fixing responsibility of the scam.

The road scam report once submitted is likely to become a talking point in the ongoing budget session of the state assembly with the BJP keen on cornering Sena on the issue.

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