Kochi: The Kerala government will recoup Rs 18 crore needed to build a new flyover at Palarivattom from the same construction company that had built an unsound one at the spot. The existing one built by RDS Projects is set to be demolished soon and a new one has been planned instead with money recovered from this company. The defective flyover was built with a budget of Rs 48 crore.
The government will make the builder pay the damages by making user of a compensation clause in the project. A provision in this regard came to light as the Vigilance sleuths probing into the flyover scam submitted the contract documents to its court.
If any flaws or defects were detected within 36 months of construction, then the contractor firm has to rectify those at its own expense, states Part III of the contract deal.
The Palarivattom flyover was inaugurated on October 12, 2016. Therefore, the RDS Projects is responsible for rectifying any problems detected on the flyover till October 11, 2019, on its own.
The construction flaws in the flyover were detected in July 2017 and the facility was closed for traffic on May 1, 2019 owing to safety concerns.
Last week the Kerala government decided to demolish the flyover and raise a new one after considering a report by experts from the IIT, Madras.
The report had observed that the condition of the structure was so bad that rebuilding was the only option.
As per Clause 49.1 of the manual of the International Federation of Consulting Engineers the state government can levy the rebuilding expenses of projects like the Palarivattom flyover. In the construction works that it supervises, the KITCO follows the norms stipulated by the Federation which is known worldwide with the acronym FIDIC for its French name Fédération Internationale Des Ingénieurs-Conseils.
The cost of the repair works is estimated to be Rs 18 crore according E Sreedharan's report on the flyover. The Kerala government has allotted the Uralungal Labour Contract Society Ltd to complete the construction work in a time-bound manner.
E Sreedharan, the principal advisor of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), would be leading the rebuilding works.
How the builder bungled
According to the Vigilance, the government fund allotted to build the flyover was diverted through RDS Projects. Investigators also found that the firm was deep in financial trouble while taking up the Palarivattom project.
The advance amount allotted by Kerala Government was, in fact, used to repay the company’s debts and not for the flyover construction. This naturally led to shoddy work, the Vigilance had told the court.
When the Palarivattom flyover was inaugurated, RDS Projects had not completed the construction. Generally, the supervising agency, KITCO, would give the completion certificate prior to the inauguration. RDS did not have the completion certificate even on the inaugural day.
While opposing the bail plea of Sumit Goyal, Managing Director of RDS projects, the Vigilance and Anti Corruption Bureau had informed the Kerala High Court that many top politicians are involved in the flyover scam.
Evidence of bribes paid to several people, including political leaders, was obtained from Goyal’s laptop, added Vigilance.
It is learnt that the top politician targeted by Vigilance is the former PWD Minister V K Ibrahim Kunju and officials are set to question him again this week.
Bar on builder
Meanwhile, the PWD will bar RDS Projects from partaking in any government-led construction work. However, the undergoing construction works of the same builder for Alappuzha bypass and Kazhakkoottam flyover will not be stopped.