Chennai Corporation has ordered retenders for 84 components of civic improvement work worth over Rs.6.8 crore, following allegations that a councillor's family member had prevented contractors from participating in the tender process.
The tender was cancelled on Thursday, after the Corporation of Chennai Contractors Welfare Association submitted a petition to the Mayor, alleging disruption of the tender process by Bavani Shankar, husband of Ward 103 councillor, B. Vasuki.
The civic body convened a meeting of several senior officials to discuss the contentious issue on Friday.
“The contractors have requested the Corporation to introduce an e-tender system and permit downloading of tender documents for work worth more than Rs. 1 lakh. At present, documents for work worth more than Rs.10 lakh are available online. If we are able to download tender documents, the problem of councillors preventing tender sales can be easily tackled,” said R. Karuna, president of the Association.
Mr. Karuna added that the councillor's relative still seemed determined to ensure that the contractor of his choice implemented the work, even after the intervention of the Mayor.
Denying the allegation of using force to prevent contractors from participating in the tender, Bavani Shankar said: “I did not prevent any contractors from participating in the tender. This allegation is politically motivated. We were planning to raise the issue of improper work on roads because of the syndicate formed by the contractors. They lay 2-inch concrete roads where they ought to have laid four inches. So the contractors have raised this issue to divert attention from the actual problem.”
Mr. Shankar added: “We will bring to the notice of the government the improper work done by the syndicate of contractors in the past. We have to break this syndicate to improve civic work.”
With the war of words between the councillors and the group of contractors intensifying, Corporation Commissioner D. Karthikeyan has stressed the need for better video surveillance of tenders at all stages, to prevent such incidents in the future.
The cancelled tender covers work in the Anna Nagar zone, including improvement work in Dr. Visveswaraiya Tower Park, the zonal office in Pulla Avenue and the Transfer Station on Elephant Gate Road in Basin Bridge.
Improvement of footpaths and playgrounds in localities including Shenoy Nagar were also part of the retender.