Corruption avenue: City paid Rs243m for road works never done

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LAHORE: The National Engineering Services of Pakistan (NESPAK) has found major irregularities in renovation and repair work on Ferozepur Road in 2009, for which the city district government charged Rs242.732 million.

According to an evaluation conducted on the orders of the commissioner’s office over the last year, the city government charged in many instances for works that were not done. The city government cleared the bills from its finance department a couple of months ago.
The project was carried out in 2009 with the aim of converting Ferozepur Road, the busiest in the city, into a ‘model road’ between Qurtaba Chowk and Suay Asil. The city district government indentified various points on the road where repair and renovation work was necessary, and where overhead pedestrian bridges were needed.

The city government, with the help of the town municipal administrations, conducted regular drives to remove encroachments, cleared away unauthorised parking stands on service roads, and stopped donkey carts and pushcarts on to the main road. Officials met regularly at the Commissioner’s Office to monitor the work.

Commissioner Khusrau Pervaiz Khan, through the Lahore Ring Road project management unit, later hired Nespak Highway and Transportation Engineering to evaluate the road works done by the city government, according to a letter available with The Express Tribune dated June 23 2010. The commissioner ordered the evaluation “upon repeated complaints from different departments,” says the letter.

Nespak found that the city government had not actually carried out the works it claimed to have done on 11 sectors of the road, including on various service lanes and sections of the main carriageway.

According to the evaluation report, the CDGL claimed Rs17.889 million for the cold milling and re-carpeting of the service road from Shama Chowk to Muslim Town Mor, but only some patchwork had been done.

Similarly, it charged Rs14.746 million to cold mill and re-carpet the main road from Mozang to Shah Jamal; Rs48.825 million to re-carpet the service road from Qainchi Amar Sidhu to Chungi Amar Sidhu; Rs19 million to lay pavement and carpet the service road from the Canal to Kot Lakhpat bridge; Rs24 million for the cold milling and carpeting of the service road from Muslim Town to Shama; Rs14 million for the cold milling and carpeting of the main road from Muslim Town to LOS Stop; Rs49.882 million for the re-carpeting of the main road from Chungi Amar Sidhu to the Kot Lakhpat bridge; Rs 1.755 million for the re-carpeting of the main road from Kot Lakhpat to Chungu Amar Sidhu; and Rs 6.477 million for the widening and re-carpeting of the service road at the bridge at Chungi Amar Sidhu. In all these instances, the city district government or TMAs did only minor patchwork, says Nespak’s evaluation report.

The city government also charged Rs40.867 million for the repair and improvement of the service road and footpath from the CDGL high school to Gousia Milk Shop near General Hospital, but used low quality tiles rather than Tuff tiles. It was also supposed to use Tuff tiles to build pavement near the Model Town Courts and the site of the old fruit market at Kot Lakhpat bridge, but used low quality tiles instead.

An official at the commissioner’s office who identified himself as Col (retired) Younis and as the official in charge of Ferozepur Road, said that they had received the report but had not started an inquiry yet to identify which officials were responsible for the apparently fraudulent behaviour because a new commissioner had only just taken charge.

“We will start the inquiry very soon and whoever is found to have committed acts of corruption will be handled according to the law,” he said.

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Corruption avenue: City paid Rs243m for road works never done
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