Madurai

Contractor abandons road work

TIRUNELVELI

Even as Melapalayam residents are waiting for repair of badly damaged roads in their area due to underground drainage work, alleged “undue pressure” being exerted by elected representatives on the contractor has apparently forced him to abandon the work.

As the corporation floated tenders for road works worth Rs. 2 crore in wards 43, 44, 45 and 49 in 2019, it was awarded to contractor G. Deva, the lowest bidder. In view of COVID-19, the contractor was forced to abandon the work for two years even before it was started.

The delay pushed up estimate of the work and the contractor held talks with the corporation to revise the project cost. The corporation turned down the plea and the work remained abandoned and the public’s agony continued.

When V. Sivakrishnamurthy assumed office as Corporation Commissioner recently, he held talks with the contractor thrice and persuaded him to do the work without increasing the cost, thus saving a few lakh rupees for the corporation.

 “The contractor, citing 30% increase in the cost of materials during the last three years, sought hike in the project cost. After the Commissioner’s persuasion, he accepted to do the work at the old rate. However, the contractor could not start the work due to the pressure mounted by a few elected representatives on him. As they allegedly demanded commission for executing the work in ‘their area,’ he cannot start the work till today,” said sources in the corporation.

When the contractor’s men went to the spot on August 13 and cleaned the road surface before laying the road, Mr. Deva was asked to start the work only after meeting chairperson of Melapalayam Zone Kathija Iqlam Fazila and her father and DMK’s Melapalayam area secretary ‘Dubai’ Shahul.

After stopping the work, Mr. Deva submitted a complaint in the Corporation Commissioner’s Office accusing Ms. Kathija Iqlam Fazila and Mr. ‘Dubai’ Shahul of demanding money for executing the road laying work in Melapalayam Zone.

 “Moreover, the duo asked me to meet Palayamkottai MLA and DMK’s Tirunelveli Central district secretary M. Abdul Wahab before meeting them,” he said in the complaint.

When asked, Ms. Kathija said the contractor was about to start the work on Saturday without the presence of Mr. Abdul Wahab, who was then out of station. “Since the MLA has to start any development work, I asked the contractor to meet him first to get his convenient dates before starting the work,” she said denying that she had demanded money from the contractor.

Her father Mr. Shahul also denied it. “I am ready to quit politics if you can prove that I demanded money from the contractor,” said Mr. Shahul.

Mr. Abdul Wahab said he wanted the work to be started. “Only then, the people would accept that their representative is doing something good for them and the constituency. When I tried to reach the contractor concerned to ask him to start the work, he did not attend my phone calls. But he is spreading false accusations against me,” he said.


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Printable version | Sep 15, 2022 4:17:38 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/contractor-abandons-road-work/article65783638.ece