Instances of large-scale irregularities in the works of the Ahmedabad Metropolitan Municipality are often highlighted, Lambha Ward being a case in point.
Five years ago, the Rs 5.59-crore project of laying a systematic drainage network in Lambha ward by the municipal corporation was assigned to contractor NP Patel & Company. Investigating the project, the Vigilance Department took cognisance of several irregularities, subsequently blacklisting the contractor. However, it has emerged that the AMC (Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation) has ignored this recommendation.
The vigilance department, in its report, has ordered Rs 1.76 crore recovery amount – the cost of the project – with interest, apart from blacklisting the company for three years.
In the standing committee meeting last Thursday, TUV SUD South Asia Pvt., which acted as the PMC agency of the disputed project, blacklisted it only for a year. This proposal has still not been placed before the standing committee.
Standing Committee Chairman Hitesh Barot told Vibes of India, “An inquiry will be made as to why the proposal to blacklist the contractor has not been made. We do not want to protect or shelter anyone.”
The corporation had undertaken the project to install systematic drainage lines to eliminate potholes in Lambha village and the surrounding areas of Indiranagar and Lakshminagar.
The new drainage line was supposed to be connected to Lambha Lake by constructing a 5 MLD capacity STP plant. NP Patel & Co had bagged the tender.
The project, which had April 2019 as the deadline, was completed in January 2021. The Vigilance Department of Drainage Project of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation was asked to probe the project, following complaints of poor quality.
The contractor was paid an initial amount of Rs 5.44 crore. Following preliminary investigations, the commissioner made a recovery of Rs 30.39 lakh from the contractor. More investigations revealed a recovery of Rs 1.76 crore.
Ten serious issues noted highlighted by the Vigilance Department:
1) 900 mm. in diameter and 600 mm in diameter four class pipe was to be laid. Instead N.P. 3 class pipe was laid but the amount charged was for N.P. 4
2) Out of the 6 vehicles registered in the measurement book, three are not registered on the RTO website
3) Not all types of registers are maintained
4) Out of the various 15 items as per tender specification, malpractices are observed in 12 items
5) 300 mm. Diameter pipeline is laid in the opposite direction to the drainage flow.
6) Adequate records as per tender specification, including register as well as monthly progress report have not been maintained
7) The design drawings of the entire project have not been approved
8) The project has been delayed
9. PMC agency has not done its work properly
10. Officials also did not supervise properly in this work
Apart from the points mentioned above, more than 25 different notes have been placed.