Contractors fearing the pilferage of construction materials has become a stumbling block for the implementation of the mega city development work by the Chennai Corporation. Even after the Corporation started the grid system of road work in a hurry last month, it has been able to finalise only 22 of the 31 packages of the Rs. 333-crore project so far.

As a result, residents of some wards in five zones of Tiruvottiyur, Manali, Ambattur, Alandur and Perungudi, will have to wait a while before a facelift is given to potholed stretches in their localities.

Two packages of the work in Tiruvottiyur, one in Manali, two in Ambattur, three in Alandur and one in Perungudi are yet to be finalised. Two packages were not finalised because of lack of participants in the technical bid, and seven packages were unable to cross the financial bid stage even after clearing the technical bid.

Most of the contractors said they feared pilferage in the newly added areas, where the grid system of roads has been proposed. And so, they have been unable to undertake work as per the rate acceptable by the Corporation.

Corporation officials said small contractors were spreading rumours of possible pilferage of construction material, to prevent big contractors from other areas from successfully participating in the bid. Some contractors are reluctant to participate in the bid and some quote high prices to cope with possible pilferage, they said.

Zonal-level officials of the civic body alleged that small contractors were trying to persuade the Corporation to relax the stringent norms for the packages, citing the delay in the finalisation of the bid. Some of them had already made representation in this regard to the Mayor.

The work on the grid system of roads that includes streetlights, street furniture, footpaths and stormwater drains in the added areas, has been divided into 31 different packages worth around Rs. 10 crore each, to facilitate better quality control.

The pricing bid for 13 packages opened on Monday, but the Corporation Council is likely to approve only six of the packages on May 10.

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Aloysius Xavier LopezJune 28, 2012

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