After appointing a road contractor that experts vociferously opposed in 2011, the civic body has now initiated proceedings against the firm for making bad roads.
Sumer Infrastructure, which has been using a technology called Carboncor, has been fined Rs19 lakh for constructing poor quality roads after three roads it laid got washed away just days after the work was completed.
In a breach of civic norms, the firm had continued roadwork long beyond the deadline.
Deepak Shah, from Sumer Infrastructure, confirmed that the roads that were washed away had in fact been laid just two days before the rains hit the city.
Carboncor had been appointed to build roads by the civic body in December 2011 despite strident opposition from the Standing Technical Advisory Committee (STAC), the civic body’s expert group on roads.
Hindustan Times had reported how the committee had expressly stated that the technology should not be employed as it has not been tried on city roads yet.
However, overriding these objections, the civic body had controversially awarded work to the firm to build a total of 17 roads across the western suburbs at a cost of Rs17 crore.
Within a year of being constructed, the civic body’s roads department found that huge stretches of these roads were damaged severely in the rain.
Of these, three roads were washed away completely — two in the western suburbs and one in the island city.
A senior civic official from the roads department said that the contractor will have to shell out Rs19 lakh, as well as repair the roads for free.
STAC’s ex- chairman NV Merani said, “We had opposed this technology since Carboncor is expensive and has not even been tested for making new roads. They should not have used it solely on the claims made by the contractor.”
Defending his technology, Shah said, “Carboncor needs sunlight to be successful and since it started raining almost immediately, the road strength wasn’t as much as it normally is. That is why these roads were washed away.”
Shah, however, said that this did not prove STAC right.
“The technology is not a failure. This is the first time that we are making roads so we made some mistakes. These will not be repeated.”