Accused in a report submitted by the chief vigilance officer for poor quality work, getting interlocking tiles on inflated rates and getting payments without completing works, firm M/S Captain Enterprises — owned by Daljinder Singh, son of SAD leader and SGPC member Amarjit Singh Chawla from Anandpur Sahib — had been served more than 10 notices since 2012 for missing deadlines, and yet no action was taken against the contractor.
Documents, accessed by Newsline, show that Chawla was allotted a tender of Rs 2.22 crore in January 2011 for installing tiles at various sites in Ludhiana and work orders were issued on February 4, 2011.
The deadline to complete work was of six months and after completion of the deadline, MC officials served almost 10 notices to him till 2014 and also recommended that the firm be blacklisted to F&CC led by Mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria but no action was taken.
In 2012, the MC sent notices on February 9, February 27, May 9, July 5 and July 12. Again notices were sent on February 27 and September 4 in 2013, and the contractor was given 15 days to complete the pending work.
Again a notice was served on January 13, 2014, giving the contractor an extended deadline of one week but the work was still not completed.
Now Local Bodies Minister Anil Joshi has recommended the filing of a chargesheet against three officials of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation after an inquiry report from Chief Vigilance Officer A K Kansal said that the firm Captain Enterprise was given undue advantage for work of installing interlocking tiles in Ludhiana.
The inquiry report, accessed by Newsline, states that the MC paid Rs 35 per piece for 40 mm tiles and Rs 50 per piece for 80 mm tiles to the contractor whereas the tiles were available for Rs 9 (40mm) and Rs 12 (80 mm) in the open market. Also, the tenders were allotted to a single firm without comparison as no other firm had applied.
The chargesheet has been recommended against superintending engineer H S Khosa, executive engineer Rakesh Sharma and junior engineer Rakesh Singla.
‘Being made scapegoats, worked under pressure’
Talking to Newsline, superintending engineer H S Khosa alleged that the three of them were being made scapegoats and they worked under ‘severe pressure of various sorts’ for this tender.
“Three times agenda was sent to F&CC committee to blacklist the contractor but no action was taken. More than 10 notices were served to Chawla’s firm but he never bothered. We worked under severe pressure of various sorts. Now after the vigilance report, we are being made scapegoats,” said Khosa.
Junior engineer Rakesh Singla said, “Since 2012 we have been serving notices to that firm and F&CC led by Mayor is taking no action against it. Now we are held responsible for everything.”
At the F&CC meeting on August 2, 2014, the mayor again extended the deadline for Chawla’s firm by two months and it was written that the “last chance is being given to the firm to complete work”.
The tiles also failed the quality test in May last and as per the report from “Testing & Consultancy Cell” of Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College, the contractor used 80 mm 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. Less MPa indicates the tiles will break off easily.
Not even 50% of work completed, the contractor has been paid Rs 95 lakh by the MC.
When contacted, Mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria said, “I have nothing to do if the contractor is the son of an Akali leader or anyone else. Engineers should have taken action against the firm after the deadline of two months granted by F&CC in August 2014 was over. There is no question of any political pressure on MC officials.”
‘No compromise on quality of our work’
WHEN asked about work being delayed for four years, SAD leader Chawla told Newsline, “This is not the final inquiry report and there was no compromise on quality of our work. I accept that work was delayed because there was shortage of sand and construction material in Punjab and Municipal Corporation did not clear my bills in time.” The firm has failed to install tiles at five sites since 2011.