Civic brass try to end nexus row

The contractor-councillor nexus in the Chennai corporation has reached a new low with each accusing the other of trying to swindle the taxpayers’ money.

While contractors allege that councillors demand a cut in the bills they produce for work done, the councillors claim the contractors pocket huge sums of money for doing substandard work in the city.

As the charges fly thick and fast the corporation is having a hard time getting civic work done. “ Already several small contractors are staying away from the tender process fed up with red tape and the groupi
ng of civic works in packages. If this situation continues projects will be badly delayed,” warns a contractor.

Another claims he returned the tender book in one ward because a relative of a local councillor demanded 10 per cent of the project cost.

“I told the councillor to do the work himself as the project would have brought me just get peanuts on completion despite the hard work and stress,” says the contractor, who is part of the city corporation contractors welfare association.

But refuting such charges, both the ruling AIADMK and opposition DMK councillors accuse the contractors of forming a coterie and trying to swindle public money.

“Most work done on roads and stormwater drains is substandard. In some areas the paver layer is reduced by 50 per cent when repairing roads to make a huge profit.

If we bring up such matters the contractors hit back saying we demand bribes,” claim the councillors Corporation Commissioner D. Karthikeyan has meanwhile instructed his officers to evolve a fool- proof mechanism to ensure that the tender process is not misused.

The corporation is also reportedly considering videographing the tendering process.

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