How long does it take to install streetlights? For the Chandigarh municipal corporation (MC), the period is nearly three years and counting. Electricity poles installed on the internal roads of Industrial Area Phase-1 in 2010 are yet to light up despite the civic body clearing 75% of the payments to contractors.
Chandigarh MC had in May 2010 awarded contracts of installing the streetlights on the internal roads of Industrial Area Phase-1 to three entities. The work, which had a six-month deadline, had been divided into four blocks - A, B, C and D. However, all the contractors only installed the electricity poles, not the streetlights.
Deputy mayor Satish Kainth on Thursday said he had written a letter to the MC commissioner, Vivek Pratap Singh, and asked him to take strict action against the officials concerned. Speaking to HT, Kainth said he would raise the issue in the House and will demand a vigilance inquiry.
Contacted, MC electricity department executive engineer SP Singh said they had already terminated the contracts. "We are making fresh estimates," he said.
Asked about the payments made to contractors, he said the civic body had only paid the contractors for installing electricity poles. "We did not make any payments for the streetlights, as the contractors did not complete the work," he said.
Out of the 424 poles that had to be installed by the three contractors (Bhushan Thukral in block A, Dushyant Electricals in block B and Om Sons in blocks C and D), only 338 electricity poles have been installed so far. None of them have installed streetlights on the poles.
Chandigarh Senior Citizen Industrialist Area Welfare Association, meanwhile, termed the situation as unfortunate."It is sad. Why have the MC paid the contractors such a huge amount, when work is incomplete. We have already taken the matter up with the deputy commissioner," Association member Satpal Matharu said.
While Bhusan Thukral installed 194 of the 210 poles that had to be set up, Dushyant Electricals installed 84 of the 100 poles. The MC had paid Thukral Rs. 64 lakh and Rs. 29 lakh of the estimated expenditure of Rs. 39 lakh to Dushyant Electricals.
But Om Sons, the MC said, had installed only 50 poles. The civic body chose to remain silent on how much money had been paid to the contractor, out of the estimated cost of Rs. 60 lakh.