December 9th, 2015
Originally published on catchnews | Image Source: newindianexpress
As Chennai limps back to normalcy after being battered by the heaviest rains in a 100 years, a story of an IAS officer Vijay Pingale is going viral. Why? Corporation works department joint commissioner Dr Vijay Pingale was shunted out of the Corporation of Chennai after he had named contractors who botched up road work in the city and fined them in an unprecedented move towards transparency by the civic body.
Pingale, an MBBS graduate and IAS officer of 2004 batch, spearheaded several initiatives during his tenure in the corporation, most notably in the road quality control wing. He was was second only to corporation commissioner Vikram Kapur and handled major duties in the civic body including roads, bridges,buildings, storm water drains, solid waste management, etc.
According to the corporation officials, it was because of Pingale’s expertise that they were able to limit waterlogging when it rained.
On 11 November, the corporation, under Pingale, made public the names of nine contractors who it said would have to reimburse the corporation Rs 2 crore for repairs it carried out on stretches laid by them.
Pingale had stated that he would name other contractors as well for poor work and that the total penalties were likely to rise.
According to a Times of India report, Pingale was transferred to the industries department as joint secretary on 14 November. Reportedly, his transfer was brought about by the powerful contractor lobby. The timing of his transfer, only days after he penalized contractors responsible for poorly laid roads, is rather telling.
Even the ministers and officials had taunted Pingale for being a ‘straight arrow’. What may have caused the floods
The corruption at various levels in the corporation has left Chennai roads potholed and broken with the first monsoon rain.
According to the corporation officials, the contractors have been carrying out inferior work and have formed a cartel to bag contracts from the corporation. Poor quality material is used to lay roads because councilors have to be “bribed” with at least 10 per cent of the cost of any project.
After Pingale took charge as joint commissioner, he set up a quality control wing in the corporation. He faced resistance as the assistant engineers reportedly thought that they would not be able to mint money from contractors if they reported poor quality of work.
As support pours in for Pingale, maybe the citizens of Chennai will now know who to blame for much of the devastation they have seen these last few weeks.
Read more at Catchnews.com