The Madras High Court has directed the Director of Indian Institute of Technology-Madras to nominate three experts who should survey the Vridhachalam-Ulundurpet-Villupuram Road and submit a report on the quality of the work completed by contractors till date. Till the report is submitted, the sum should not be disbursed to the contractors.
The First Bench of Chief Justice M.Y. Eqbal and Justice T.S. Sivagnanam passed the interim order on an appeal against a single Judge's order. Originally, V. Devagi of Kalpattu village in Villupuram district had filed a writ petition aggrieved by the “illegal action” of the Divisional Engineer (Regular), Highways Department, Villupuram, in not conducting the tender process for laying the roads in Villupuram district out of the funds allotted by the Tamil Nadu government for restoring roads affected by cyclone ‘Thane' in December last year. A single Judge dismissed the petition.
The appellant alleged that only two contractors had participated in 15 different works pertaining to the road.
The Bench said prima facie it was of the opinion that serious irregularity and illegality had been committed in awarding the contract. However, the Advocate-General had submitted that as on today, 60 per cent of the work had been completed. The Bench said, before it proceeded in the matter, it was giving the direction to the IIT-M Director. The State should provide all facilities to the experts. All costs should be borne by the State.