Chennai: The Greater Chennai Corporation is likely to cancel an annual contract worth 40 crore for maintaining street light posts and high mast posts in 10 corporation zones due to laxity on the part of contractors. The contract was awarded in 2012 and has been renewed ever since on an yearly basis.
An internal audit has revealed that the contractors were overcharging for electrical fittings and other spares. Besides, at least 35,000 lights across the city weren’t working because of a careless lax approach on the part of the contractors.
One of the important tender conditions to deploy qualified electricians and supply 27 materials every month was not fulfilled. Instead of 15 electricians, only eight or ten were deployed by the contractors and they were not qualified.
“We had to coordinate with three contractors to make one light run. For the post, there’s one contractor, for the LED fitting, the LED companies have to be chased, and for monitoring all these street lights under the group monitoring project, another contractor is in charge. And the fact is that none of them work as per their contract but get paid the full amount,” said an official.
Two companies – Philips and Schreder – had supplied the LED lights and provided 7 years guarantee. That ended last year after which the companies refused to repair or replace the LED fittings. Corporation engineers placed tubelights and CFL bulbs in those locations.
However, they continued to pay 2 crore to 3 crore per zone for annual maintenance to corporation contractors for maintenance of the posts even though they didn’t have LED lights on them. Also, only about 600 posts would require maintenance or replacement a year. But contractors were paid for all 1.7 lakh posts every year.
Other maintenance work such as repair of pillar faults and fixing of cable box problems was also not attended to for the past four months. The contractor had to maintain registers, be available 24×7 and also go on city rounds to ensure all lights glowed. None of this was done. Since only a penalty of 500 and 5% of the pole cost was levied on them for not working, they were willing to pay that.