The civic body has tightened the noose around contractors, who have been widely accused of fudging bills and claiming payments for works not done, by asking its auditor to scrutinise them before funds are released.
Until now, these bills were cleared by site engineers, many of whom are said to be in cahoots with the errant contractors.
However, after public outrage and two internal notes written by senior civic officials alleging that contractors have been submitting bogus bills, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to empower SGS consultants, a private auditor, to verify them.
So far, the BMC-appointed auditor was only overseeing whether quality is being maintained in the road works being carried out on the city’s streets.
The decision was taken in BMC’s standing technical advisory committee (STAC) meeting on Thursday. Committee chairman NV Merani said: “I have instructed SGS to scrutinise the process of creating and submitting bills. Many irregularities have been noticed when contractors claim payment. They are only approved by site engineers, and hence, need to be re-verified.”
Civic officials say that contractors resort to various malpractices when billing for works. “These include misrepresenting the amount of machinery employed, the materials used, to faking the actual progress made on site,” said a civic official.