The audit conducted by SGS India Private Limited, a third-party auditor appointed to monitor roadwork in the city, has pointed to roads being built in Borivli, Kandivli, Dahisar, Ghatkopar, Andheri and Grant road, being inferior in quality. Making stringent remarks against the quality of work, the auditor has exposed how private contractors working on these roads did not even wait for approval of materials and the road design.
This was just one of the many instances of irregularities found by the auditor in its monitoring of road works worth Rs950 crore. Right from finding inferior quality of materials being used, to them not being used in the prescribed quantity, contractors have been found to be repeatedly violating the civic body’s guidelines on quality.
Coming just months after widespread outrage in the city over the state of the city’s roads in the last monsoon, these findings offer a window into the way the city’s roads have been made for all these years.
Civic officials insist that they are now in a position to rectify what is going wrong while the roads are being constructed. Additional municipal commissioner Aseem Gupta said, “There are two ways to look at it — either rue the fact that such unfortunate things are happening or be glad that they have been curtailed and the right process has been set in place.”
In another instance in Kandivli, the auditor found that the contractor had constructed a road with its thickness being just 50% of what has been prescribed by the civic body.
Crucial materials like Dense Bituminous Macadam, whose higher density ensures that water doesn’t enter into the road’s layers, were found to be of inferior quality.
Materials like the granular sub-base (GSB), which experts say is a crucial ingredient for a strong foundation, was also found to be substandard. GSB, experts added, is the material that has to take the load and hence has to be strong enough for it to last.
“These materials give the road a strong foundation and help strengthen it. If you are going to use substandard materials for the foundation itself, how will they be able to make a strong road anyway?” asked Nandkumar Salvi, retired chief engineer (roads).