Tainted by several allegations of misconduct in fixing rates for carrying out infrastructure works, the Greater Chennai Corporation has constituted a committee of engineers to scrutinise rates fixation and approve schedule of rates with some transparency.
“Arriving the schedule of rates by a single department requires further scrutiny which in turn would avoid any miscalculations. The procedure of fixing rates also requires streamlining as the civic body has grown multifold,” Prakash said in his order. According to a Chennai Corporation senior official, the civic body is fixing rates for any item of work based on the basic rates received from the Public Works Department. “Based on the basic rates, schedule of rates is arrived taking into account of the data sheets exclusively available for each item of work,” he said. He added that the schedule of rates is mainly prepared by works department and buildings department. Presently, concerned head of departments are arriving rates for the special nature of works pertaining to their respective departments like bearings for bridges department, raising of manhole doors in stormwater drains.
The newly constituted committee would sit every year once the Public Works Department releases basic rates and every month to decide on fixing schedule of rates for special items. “When there is a need to fix new rates for new items, the committee will convene from time to time. The rates should be collectively approved by all the chief engineers and that would make all of them accountable,” the official explained.
Even though the special resolution was approved on December 9 and the order issued on December 10, only a few days after a city-based NGO raised allegation of misconduct in fixing rates for sand used in civic works, the senior official maintained that the decision to constitute the committee is taken suo moto. “There is no connection between the false allegations and the formation of the committee. Only we wanted to ensure more transparency in the process,” he said.