After several deliberations and delays, the Brihan-mumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has finally invited expression of interest (EoI) from private firms to be appointed as external third-party auditors for all civic infrastructure projects.
This means that all capital works such as repair or reconstruction of civic school and hospital buildings, construction of bridges and storm water drains, water supply and sewerage networks, treatment plants and gardens will be brought under the purview of external audits.
At present, a BMC-appointed Switzerland-based private firm conducts audits of all road projects and acts as a check on work done by contractors.
"From the very start of the project to its complete execution, the third-party auditors will closely monitor the work done by the contractors. Reports will be furnished by the auditors based on inspections on the lines of the existing third-party audits for road projects," said Rajiv Jalota, additional municipal commissioner (projects).
Although the system was to be introduced a year ago, the civic body is struggling to find enough firms to begin these audits. "The-re has been insufficient response to the EoIs invited up to the February 15 deadline. Thus, we have extended the deadline till February 28 for firms to send in their documents," said Jalota.
Experts, however, said it was vital for the audit reports to translate into effective measures to improve civic services. "It was necessary to further these third-party audits in departments that involve high capital expenditures. Action should be initiated by the administration to introduce systemic reforms based on the reports prepared by the external auditors," said former civic chief Subodh Kumar, who had issued orders to appoint third-party auditors to monitor road works in 2011.