Mumbai: After irregularities were found in the slum improvement works of 2010-13, the slum improvement board of Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) is doubting the genuineness of test certificates issued by its own material test labs. The Mumbai Slum Improvement Board (MSIB) has directed its officials to recheck and re-verify the certificates issued by material labs. The board has written to the authority to ensure the genuineness of the test certificates before certifying works or making payments. The material test labs of MHADA will now be approached to ascertain the originality of the test certificates.
In order to ensure the quality of works executed, material tests are carried out by contractors at their own cost through MHADA’s material test laboratory. The Free Press Journal was the first to report on August 29 that the authority had blacklisted 37 contractors submitting fake material test reports of slum improvement works under the MSIB.
A senior MSIB official said that an inquiry will be held after finding those officials of the board involved in sanctioning of slum improvement works during the irregularities. He said, “We have sent memos to the concerned officials regarding the administrative approvals given by them. The officials are responding to us on a daily basis explaining their side of the story. Most of the officials under the scanner have retired by now.”
The official added that the certificates issued by material test labs will now be under the scanner. He said, “It was found that the contractors had submitted test reports from uncertified labs because of which the originality of the reports will now be checked.”
According to the General and Social Sector report 2012-13 which stated that out of the total 12,237 works of MSIB awarded between 2010-13, tests were conducted on a mere 1,270 works. The report revealed that in 40 out of 1,270 test-checked cases, it was observed that final bills amounting to Rs 4.31 crore were paid to the contractors on the basis of material test certificates submitted. However, cross verification by audit from the material test labs revealed that none of the test certificates were issued by the labs.