The allegations that road contractors have been using sub-standard paver blocks by fabricating receipts from approved suppliers has raised questions about the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) controversial policy of laying roads with them.
From being approved for use only at junctions, to being used for building entire roads, the civic body’s policy left many bewildered, especially since there have been doubts about their efficacy. However, the BMC started touting paver blocks as the answer to the city’s problems of potholed roads, and began using them indiscriminately on major arterial roads as well.
This incident also proves the tight-knit nexus between civic officials and errant road contractors. The potential scam came to light only when an approved paver block supplier found that a certain road contractor was making fake receipts to show paver blocks were being sourced from an approved company, while procuring poor quality ones from unapproved firms.
“Had it not been for the company’s complaint, there is a good chance that the scam wouldn’t even have come to light. This is an eye-opener for us. Despite appointing an auditor for these works [Swiss-based SGS Consultants], the contractor-official nexus continues to be strong,” said an official from the civic roads department.
Additional municipal commissioner Aseem Gupta said, “We have received complaints about contractors illegally using poor quality paver blocks and not buying them from approved companies. Hence, we have ordered a thorough investigation across the city at places where paver blocks have been used in the last year.”
Gupta said that the civic body had already sent samples for quality testing. “As part of our investigation, we have taken some paver blocks from some of the roads laid recently and have sent them to the laboratory to test their quality.”