Work started two weeks ago to construct a duct for EB and phone lines and storm water drain – side by side - on the 3 kilometre long South Avenue road. What resulted was the contractor going on a digging spree all along the houses and also cutting off lines that would otherwise take out water and waste water outside the respective compounds.
“In one case, the compound wall fell as the JCB dug too close to it,” Sathiyamoorthy added.
What galled residents is that they “now have to spend between Rs 5000 and Rs 10,000 to get the damage repaired and reconnect broken pipes. Using this as an excuse local plumbers demand any amount which is reduced only if a person bargains well,” said an affected resident G Balasubramaniam.
When Balasubramaniam’s daughter complained – with pictures - to Collector A Shanmuga Sundaram through whatsapp he forwarded it to the concerned officials resulting in the contractor coming to their house and telling them that do what they may, he would not be affected.
Another resident C Baskar said, “if residents demand the work plan to ensure they are not affected, the contractor threatens us by ordering the JCB to dig very close to the compound walls.”
“Another issue was that there was no site engineer to check whether the work was being undertaken according to the local body provided smart city project specifications,” Satiyamoorthy added.
Even TNEB officials were left fuming as the work undertaken without consulting them resulted in two EB power poles standing right in the middle of the work area. “Even if the poles are not affected now it will prevent power lines from being diverted to the duct due to lack of space,” EB sources revealed.
“While in other areas, contractors undertaking similar work tried to help residents by providing them a bamboo bridge to cross the more than 5 feet wide work stretch. But this contractor did not do such things and the we are compelled to spend money to make temporary facilities to cross the trench,” detailed Sathiyamoorthy added.
Vellore Smart city project officials were unavailable for comment.