Surat : Gujarat Finance Board orders probe in Rs. 10 Cr roads scam in Bardoli


Surat : The Gujarat Municipal Finance Board (GMFB) has issued orders for a comprehensive investigation into alleged corruption and widespread irregularities concerning contractors awarded tenders by Bardoli Nagarpalika. The subject of scrutiny is the construction of a two-kilometer Tree-Mix Canal Road, stretching from Amiras Hotel to Alankar Cinema in Bardoli town, situated approximately 50 kilometers away from Surat.

The GMFB directive includes an immediate halt to any pending payments to the contractors who were granted the tender for this project. This move came in the wake of a revelation by social activist Darshan Naik, who exposed alleged malpractices within the work order issued by Bardoli Nagarpalika for the construction of an asphalt road from Hotel Amiras to Alankar Cinema.

On October 12, Naik urged the secretary of the Gujarat Urban Development and City Housing Department to take stringent actions against the contractors involved in corrupt practices and the Bardoli Nagarpalika authorities for their alleged use of substandard materials in road construction.

The bewildering chain of events traces back to 2018 when Bardoli Nagarpalika approved tenders from two contractors for the construction of the two-kilometer Tree-Mix Road, with a cost totaling Rs 4.21 crore. The project, which aimed to incorporate tree plantation alongside the road for aesthetic enhancement and green coverage, soon unraveled with a series of issues.

Following the road’s completion, potholes emerged at various points, underscoring that the work had not adhered to the prescribed specifications outlined in the contracts. In response to these glaring quality concerns, Bardoli Nagarpalika served notices to the contractors, demanding repairs to the potholes and written explanations for the substandard workmanship.

What raises questions in the community is that, despite evident quality issues, the Bardoli Nagarpalika authorities issued completion certificates for the project. Ordinarily, contractors are bound by a five-year maintenance obligation after the project’s conclusion. However, Bardoli Nagarpalika authorities deviated from the norm by allocating an additional Rs 2 crore to local contractor Chetan Patel from Bardoli to rectify the road’s issues.

Further complicating matters, Bardoli Nagarpalika misled the regional commissioner of Municipalities in the Surat zone at SUDA by stating that the road was never constructed and the funds under the 14th Finance Commission were no longer utilized.

According to Naik’s investigation, Bardoli Nagarpalika disbursed Rs 4.21 crore to the initial two contractors, only to later award an additional Rs 2 crore to a third contractor for the reconstruction of a road that had already been constructed. In addition to this, Bardoli Nagarpalika allocated a significant Rs 84 lakh for wall construction, Rs 4.45 lakh for asphalt painting, and other supplementary work that was originally intended to be executed by the initial contractors for Rs 4.21 crore.