A 49-year-old contractor was arrested on Thursday for laying concrete stormwater drain without removing the defunct borewell hand pump on Second Street in Vijayaraghavapuram near Sathuvachari within Vellore city Corporation limits a few days ago.
Based on the complaint by the Assistant Commissioner for Zone - II of the civic body, D. Surendra Babu, the contractor, was arrested by the Sathuvachari police under Section 430 of IPC (mischief by injury to works of irrigation or by wrongfully diverting water). Later, he was lodged in the Central Prison, Vellore.
The Corporation has also issued a show cause notice to A. Selvaraj, 47, assistant engineer (AE), who was in-charge of the work in 19th ward of Zone-II for dereliction of duty. “We have issued stern warning to contractors and officials that such negligence will not be tolerated. An expert team under the town planning department has been formed to monitor such works on a daily basis,” Corporation Commissioner P. Ashok Kumar, told The Hindu.
Officials said work on the ₹1,000-crore Smart Cities Mission project includes widening of existing storm water drains, covering major areas, like Sathuvachari, Rangapuram and Alamelumangapuram, since 2018. Of the total 660-km road length, a stretch of 56 km has been taken up for the widening of the existing stormwater drain due to availability of road space. Around 80% of the work has been completed. As part of the widening work, the contractor engaged workers to build sidewalls for the drain in Vijayaraghavapuram a few days ago. Workers covered the borewell hand pump with concrete mixture and only the top part of the pump was visible. After the picture of the work went viral on social media, Mayor Sujatha Anandakumar cancelled the contract. Later, the civic officials removed the hand pump. This incident comes more than a month after a similar incident where a concrete road was laid without relocating a parked two-wheeler on Kaligambal Street near Katpadi in Zone-II on June 27. A few days later, Ponniamman Koil Street near Sathuvachari, off the Chennai - Bengaluru Highway (NH 48), was re-laid with bitumen without removing a defunct government jeep there.