CHB chief engineer accused of giving undue favours to project contractor

  • Hillary Victor, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Dec 11, 2015 11:14 IST
The CHB executive engineers say neither the required inspection lift was provided for supervision nor did the contractor instal the necessary machines used for mixing concrete material. (HT Photo)

The Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) executive engineers have accused acting chief engineer Sunil Kumar for causing delay in construction of flats in Sector 63 and giving undue favour to the project contractor.

In replies to a show-cause notice to the CHB chairman, they have stated the chief engineer did not act against contractor BL Mehta for serious lapses, and no penalty running into crores was charged, thereby causing a loss the exchequer. Instead, he was given extension many times, they maintained.

When contacted, CHB chairman Maninder Singh said, “The chief executive officer has been asked to examine the replies. If found unsatisfactory, action will be taken accordingly.”

Last month, the CHB chairman had issued a show-cause notice to chief engineer Sunil Kumar, asking his response on undue favours to the contractor, delay in the project’s completion, and not informing the high-ups about it.

In return, Kumar had further issued notices to the six executive engineers asking them to explain the reasons behind the delay.

In replies, it was highlighted that neither the contractor provided the required inspection lift for supervision as per the agreement nor did he instal the necessary machines used for mixing concrete material — of mandatory six batch-mixing plants, only three were installed — which caused the delay.

As per the agreement, the contractor had to provide the inspection lift for a capacity of minimum 10 persons in each block, “failing which the work will be stopped and the contractor will be held responsible”.

Though Sunil Kumar was aware of these lapses, instead of taking action, he gave repeated extensions to the agency, and didn’t seek the opinion from the XENs of the CHB public health and electrical wings.

However, Kumar said the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was already probing the case, and requested not to carry the news.

Launched in 2008, the work on the project was started in 2010 and total 2,108 flats were constructed under the scheme, of which total 336 are three bedrooms, 888 two bedrooms, 564 one bedroom and 320 EWS (Economically Weaker Section) sets.

Of total 2,108 flats, the contraction of as many as 1,668 units was given to BL Mehta, while the work to construct the rest of the flats was given to Krishana Construction and Telecommunication Consultancy And Engineering Company.

As the construction was completed three months back, the housing body has now started giving possession to the allottees.

Project under CBI scanner

Already under scanner, the case is now being probed by the CBI, and all records pertaining to the scheme are in its possession. Apart from the use of substandard material in construction, several other irregularities, including official laxity and delay in the project to favour the contractor, have been found.

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