Staff Reporter

Isaac flays collusion between contractors and bureaucrats

To award long-term contracts for maintaining roads

KOCHI: Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac has said that as part of the move to end corruption in road building and maintenance, the Government has taken some measures like revision of rates, yearly or half-yearly, strict adherence to tender procedures and administrative and technical sanctions before public works are undertaken.

Addressing a press conference here on Sunday, Dr. Isaac described the expenses involved in maintenance of roads in the State as “daylight robbery” and blamed the collusion between unscrupulous contractors and corrupt bureaucrats for the current state of the roads in the State.

He said the State would not be wanting in funds to build and maintain roads but said that expenses would now be put under the scanner and that even social auditing was being considered to see that contractors and bureaucrats adhered to the best of practices and that these practices were made transparent.

Dr. Isaac said that during the current year the State Government was expected to receive Rs.835 crore in motor vehicles tax against the Rs.2,042 crore earmarked for road development during the year.

Expenses on road building and maintenance forms about 10 per cent of the Government’s total expenditure, the Minister said.

The Finance Minister said that the Government planned to award long-term contracts for building and maintaining roads to cut down on unnecessary expenditure. The process would begin with the Sabarimala roads, he said. Five-year contracts would be awarded for the maintenance of Sabarimala roads.

There are 17 roads leading to Sabarimala involving a distance of 370 km.