Two years ago, an external third party audit firm — SGS India Private Limited — was appointed with an aim to bring in independent monitoring of the road work carried out and to fill the gaps in the civic body's internal mechanism of checks and supervision.
The firm, since its appointment, gave several reports that brought to light how contractors repeatedly compromised on quality of work by flouting contract norms and work specifications.
While no concrete action was taken against the contractors, the civic standing committee, a week ago, rejected a routine proposal to re-appoint the firm to audit road relaying works in the western suburbs for the coming year. The reasons cited included the firm's inefficiency and its monopoly in bagging contracts to audit works.
Instead, the civic body announced its decision to appoint a panel of such auditors, but steps to this effect are yet to be taken.
The scope of the firm's audit covered physical inspection of the manufacturing plants of contractors, quarries from where the raw materials were brought, and daily supervision of road construction work.
“An engineer from the firm would be present to inspect the road project along with the [civic] site engineer. This system ensured double checks and more vigilant supervision. But with the rejection of the proposal to appoint them, there will be a problems in the supervision work carried out,” said a civic official from the roads department.
This also means that road work is likely to deteriorate further due to the inconsistencies in the BMC's internal system of checks.
Civic officials, however, defended their decision. “We observed that the firm's functioning often favoured the contractors and its reports too were not as pointing. It would be much more effective to appoint a panel of auditors instead of giving the entire responsibility to a single firm,” said a senior civic official.