CHENNAI: Making serious charges, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed before Madras High Court alleging irregularities in the construction of magazine building in INS Rajali at Arakkonam, which is an Indian naval air station operated under the Eastern Naval Command of the navy and has the longest runway in Asia.
The PIL was filed by RB Govindan of West Tambaram. The petitioner accused Raipur-based defence civil contractor Varsha Constructions of using sub-standard material in violation of standards prescribed by Military Engineer Services (MES).
The High Court has admitted the PIL and issued notices to all parties, including MES Chief Engineer, Visakhapatnam; MES Commander Works Engineer, Chennai, Superintending Technical Examiner, Commanding Officer, INS Rajali, Arakkonam; Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner, Chennai; and Varsha Constructions.
The petitioner claimed that work order worth Rs 22 crore for construction of a new magazine building at INS Rajali Arakkonam was awarded to Varsha Constructions in 2016 and as per the Notice Inviting Tender requirement and details of tender and the quality assurance, Chief Engineer had provided the standard of construction, including specifications and more particularly with the quality of construction and the materials to be used and also the manner of using the materials.
The work order clearly specifies that “High strength Corrosion Resistant TMT bars of grade 500D” (CRS steel) shall be used. Also, ‘JAPEE’ (OPC) 43 W-28 brand cement to be used for the construction of the magazine building.
“But, contrary to the terms and conditions, the contractor had used substandard materials. As per the contract, CRS steel to be used for reinforcement, but ordinary steel ‘Fe 500D’ at cheaper price was used. This drastically affected the quality of the project. Invoices dated August 13, 2016 shows procurement of Fe 500D grade TMT bars totalling 104.5 metric tonnes and utilised in the construction,” the PIL says.
Another major allegation is the contractor has used cheaper “MAHA “ 53 grade and “PARASHAKTHI” 43 grade cement in place of specified JAPEE (OPC) 43 W-28 grade cement, which is the approved mix design recommended by Anna University. “It is submitted that consistency, soundness, specific gravity, setting time, compressive strength and other parameters will change due to change in cement brand procured. MES has only approved the usage of JAPEE (OPC) 43 W-28 grade cement and the contractor ought to use only this cement and not the other cements. This is a serious deviation in the quality of construction,” petitioner alleged.
The PIL also made charges of violating labour laws, manipulation and forgery in the supply of fibre cable and said the authorities, despite submitting written representation with proof, have not taken any action.