Two activists from Dadar plan to show you how you can ensure the infrastructure work undertaken in the city is not shoddy.
Activists Bhaskar Prabhu and Nikhil Desai will urge citizens to take up ‘social audits’ of projects, like they did for a footpath in Dadar, and get the authorities to take note of a job badly done and rectify it.
When the activists saw that recently laid paver blocks on a footpath at Dadar TT junction had started coming loose within a few days of construction, they decided not to stop at grumbling about it. They pursued the matter until the contractor was forced to re-lay the two footpaths without any extra cost to the municipal corporation.
Having set a precedent, the activists now plan to make such ‘social audits’ popular practice. They will begin with scouting for substandard civic works in their ward.
“One morning, I discovered work on the freshly laid footpath seemed to have been done shoddily,” said Prabhu, convenor of Mahiti Adhikar Manch, an organisation working to spread awareness on the Right to Information Act.
Prabhu and Desai contacted the local ward office. “We asked them for a copy of the work order issued for this footpath to compare it with the work actually done,” Desai said.
Local ward officials inspected the site with the duo. “The officials ordered the contractor to remove the blocks from a portion of the footpath to inspect the work done under them,” Desai said. They found that the contractor laid the paver blocks without any concrete bedding underneath.
The civic officials ordered the contractor to do the work again. “The officials inspected the footpath on the other side of the road and made the contractor re-do that too,” Desai said. Work on the two footpaths had originally cost the contractor Rs 5 lakh.
Sanjay Kurhade, ward officer, F-North, could not be contacted. A senior ward official, requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media, said: “We had to anyway re-do the footpath because some work was left and we had to cover it up for Diwali. The activists’ complaint was an added impetus.”
Bhaskar and Desai, however, feel such more citizens should follow this practice. “We need more awareness on the concept of a social audit since this could be the solution for all civic woes,” Bhaskar said.