After dragging its feet for many months over the appointment of external auditors to survey pothole filling work, which were completed six months ago, the BMC has finally hired two third-party agencies for the job. With barely three months to go for the rains, some corporators and civic activists feel that the appointments are nothing but complete eyewash.
The roads department of the civic body until recently was avoiding third-party audit for quality check of the roads and pothole-filling exercise. Despite demands, the department had not appointed such auditors since last monsoon.
According to a civic official, additional municipal commissioner S V R Srinivas had raised the issue last month. He said, "The reports by the audit agencies will not be up to the marks as the rainy season is not too far. Even experts from IIT and VJTI have refused to do the job. There were a lot of efforts to sabotage the pothole tracking system during last monsoon. This year too, the department is planning to stall the online tracking system."
However, Srinivas is hopeful about the outcome. He said, "This time, we have appointed two agencies as against one last year. In fact, we want to increase the number of audit agencies so that we have fair reports. This will help us to ensure better quality of work. The agencies have started their work."
Alleging nexus between contractors and civic officials, Rais Shaikh, leader of Samajwadi Party in the BMC, said there is a conscious effort to suppress information on undone work. "This year, the department not brought the proposal of appointment."
A civic activist from Wadala said that the corporation has been sepnding thousand of crores of rupees on roads but the result is pathetic every year. He said, "There is a lack of earnest approach towards making the city roads better. The roads department is like a milking cow for the politicians, bureaucrats and the contractors."
Rs1000 cr road contracts to be awarded
The civic body will be awarding contracts worth Rs1000 crore next week for mastic asphalt and cement–concrete roads. The proposal, approved by the works committee suburbs last week includes asphalting of junctions too. The proposal was brought in a hurry as BMC fears that model code of conduct before general elections will only delay in bringing the proposals.
Once the proposal is approved, tenders will be floated this week and contracts will be awarded.