The UT vigilance department ordered a probe into the allotment of 137 public toilets to a Gurgaon-based firm in July last year. The firm was allegedly ineligible according to the notice inviting tenders. The vigilance department has asked the municipal corporation officers to hand over all records pertaining to the allotment and functioning of the tender.
Vigilance inspector Sri Parkash, the complainant in the case, said, “We pointed out some major irregularities in the allotment of the tender. The documents have to be handed over immediately. Once we get the documents, we will investigate before registering a case.”
Hindustan Times had highlighted the issue in June 2015. Draftman Narinder Sharma posted at the public health office in Division 4 forwarded the case for allotment despite the contractor being ineligible according to the detailed notice inviting tender (DNIT). Though the then superintending engineer NP Sharma rejected the bid, MC officials later tweaked the terms and conditions to make the bidder eligible.
Back then, Congress councillors cried foul over the allotment saying the agenda was neither approved by the finance and contract committee nor the House.
Surprisingly, in September, workers also lodged a complaint with the MC commissioner B Purushartha alleging that there were gross malpractices by the contractor.
The workers alleged that the contractor offered to pay them Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000 as monthly salary in cash, whereas he was allotted the work at a quotation of Rs 14,600 per toilet.
The workers said their salaries should be according to the district collector rate prevalent in Chandigarh, which is around Rs11,135 (including EPF and ESIC) per month.
It was also alleged that workers were being forced to work beyond the daily fixed eight hours from 9am to 9pm, contrary to the labour law in Chandigarh.
But Purushartha did not take any action against the contractor. The MC commissioner could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.
COST ALREADY UP BY 50%
The DNIT (detailed notice inviting tender) stated that the reserve price offered by the MC for each toilet was fixed at Rs 14,600 per month. Since the MC will bear water and power costs, the civic body will have to pay around Rs 19,600 every month. This expenditure was over 50% of the earlier cost (Rs 12,800) of a similar project.
FLAW IN TENDER
According to terms and conditions, one male attendant each will be provided two sets of toilet blocks (ladies and gents), now only one male attendant is manning both toilets in city.
CONTRACTOR CAUGHT FLEECING
In August 2015, attendants at public toilets in Sectors 19, 22, 28, 34, 37, 40 and 41 were charging users Rs 5 each time they used the facility. Clause 67 of the agreement states that the service was free. However, at a toilet in Sector 22, the charges for using the toilet (Rs 5) were painted on the wall.