In a first, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will suspend two chief engineers, blacklist and file first information reports (FIRs) against six contractors and two third-party auditors for irregularities in construction of roads in the city.
The action comes after the report on an inquiry into the construction of 34 roads in the western suburbs in 2014-15 concluded the work was carried out using sub-standard material, and was shoddy in most cases. The report claims the extent of faulty work is in the range of 38% to 100%. The officers and the third-party consultants, who were to keep a check on quality, also failed to perform their duty, it states, indicting the entire roads department of the civic body for malpractices and irregularities. “The whole administration has failed to supervise and monitor the road repair work,” states the report.
Civic chief Ajoy Mehta had ordered a probe into road repair works in October 2015, after mayor Snehal Ambekar wrote a confidential letter to him, alleging malpractices and corruption in the work. On Monday, Mehta submitted the 115-page report to Ambekar.
The repair work of all 34 roads was carried out by six contractors -- RPS Infraprojects, Relcon Infraprojects, KR Construction, J Kumar, RK Madhani and Mahavir Infrastructure. The probe covered Malad Reservoir road, Khadakpada road and Guru Govindsingh Road in Andheri (East), Wasri Hill road and Jaichand Karwa road in Goregaon, among others.
According to the report, the sub-base of the road was filled with soil, instead of concrete and other material. The third party auditors -- SGS consultancy and IRS -- ignored the shoddy work and gave green light to the work done by the contractors, states the report.
Ashok Pawar, who was then the chief engineer of roads department and is currently with the building maintenance department, and UM Murudkar, who was the chief engineer of the vigilance department, have been held guilty of failing to supervise and monitor the work. Murudkar is already under suspension over the alleged irregularities in desilting of stormwater drains. “It is a complete departmental failure…the officers ranging from sub-engineers, assistant engineers, executive engineers and deputy chief engineer are responsible for malpractices,” said the report.
According to a source, the civic body has spent Rs25 crore to Rs30 crore on these 34 roads. The action on other officers will be taken in phase-wise manner, so it does not affect the ongoing road repair work. While the Shiv Sena refrained from commenting on the development, BJP group leader Manoj Kotak said, “We had demanded the inquiry. Now, the citizens will get to know who is responsible for the shoddy road work.”