The sealed samples (provided by Ludhiana Municipal Corporation officials under the RTI Act) of interlocking tiles used by contractor M/S Captain Enterprise on Gill road have failed the test, according to a report from ‘Testing & Consultancy Cell’ of Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College.
The report says that the contractor has used 80mm interlocking tiles having 32.50 Compressive Strength MPa but as per Indian Standard Code No. 15658: 2006, the compressive strength should not be less than 40.00 MPa.
Since the work started in 2011, the Ludhiana MC officials have been aware of the inferior quality of interlocking tiles being used by M/S Captain Enterprise but no action has been taken against the firm.
It was only last year that a recommendation was sent by executive engineer Karamjit Singh from Zone C to higher officials, including Mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria, MC Commissioner Shruti Singh and Additional Commissioner Sumit Jarangal, to blacklist the firm due to constant complaints and poor quality of work.
The file recommending the blacklisting of the firm has been gathering dust in the mayor’s office since then and has not been forwarded to the Financial and Contractual Committee which holds the power to blacklist a contractor from applying for any tender in future and forfeit the amount paid.
The firm, Captain Enterprise, is owned by Daljinder Singh, son of SGPC member Amarjit Singh Chawla from Anandpur Sahib. That is why, it is alleged, Mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria, Badal’s confidant, has taken no action.
Talking to Newsline, a senior MC official said that “despite numerous warnings sent to contractor to stop work at site, he is continuing with work”. “We have sent numerous recommendations to blacklist this firm. The report is already submitted and lying in the mayor’s office, yet to be signed and forwarded to F&CC. A tile cannot have less than 40.00 compressive strength. It indicates how much pressure a tile can handle. And 32 MPa shows that tile will break off very easily. The contractor is having strong backing of senior Akali Dal leaders and whenever an inquiry is initiated against the firm, we are asked to stop it midway. The work continues at Gill road site despite tiles being of poor quality. Payments are also being made.”
However, when contacted, Mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria denied having seen the file. “The file has not yet been put up before me. I will sign it as soon as it reaches me.”
Kuldeep Singh Khaira, a city resident who asked for information under the RTI Act, said, “For six months I was harassed by MC and they did not give me the documents. Tiles are broken on Gill road and some are coming off.”
The project of installing interlocking tiles on Gill road was worth Rs 2 crore and was to be completed within six months of the work order in 2011. Even after three years, only 40% of the work has been completed.
Karamjit Singh, XEN Zone C, B&R, said, “We have already recommended blacklisting of firm and the file is now pending with the mayor’s office.”
Other than Gill road, the MC also allotted work of installing tiles in Model Town Extension, Vishal Nagar, ward number 29 and Prabhat Nagar to the firm and tender amounting to around Rs 2 crore in all. All works are lying incomplete by more than 60% for the last three years but no action has been taken yet.
While the phone of Amarjit Singh Chawla was switched off, his son Daljinder Singh did not respond to phone calls.