Here’s an irony that exemplifies the operation of the official-contractor-corporator nexus. Of the Rs4,414 crore spent by the civic body in minor ward-level works, in the last five years, a large portion of the money – Rs1,456 crore – has been spent on minor roads in your neighbourhood. Another Rs66 crore have been spent on pavements.
Both these are areas for which the civic body has drawn the most amount of flak, as roads across the city are in a terrible condition, while pavements are taken over by hawkers.
HT had, in a series of reports, starting July last year, highlighting the pathetic state of city roads, despite the civic body having spent Rs5,000 crore on them over the last give years. HT had also carried reports on how the civic body had been going soft on contractors, giving multiple contracts to those doing a shoddy job.
Roads are taken up for repairs usually on the recommendation of local councilors. The maximum expenditure on roadwork, Rs456 crore, was made in 2009-10 — the year that both state and assembly elections were held. Sources said that year saw the maximum collusion between corporators, eager to please the electorate, officials and contractors.
Former chief secretary DM Sukhtankar said the only way to correct these irregularities is to ensure action was taken against those involved.
“The bureaucracy allows these contractors to do whatever they want to and are happy to get a cut out of it. Strict action must be ensured against officials who certify this work, and punitive action against contractors found doing shoddy or bogus work,” he said.