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Slum board suspends 2 officials for poor quality of construction

Team from IIT-Madras will assess structural quality of buildings at K.P. Park

The Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board (TNSCB) has suspended two officials following complaints over poor quality of construction at the tenements built in Kesava Pillai (K.P.) Park, Pulianthope.

The suspended officials were M. Pandian, assistant engineer, and S. Anbalagan, assistant executive engineer, who were involved in the project. Sources at the TNSCB said the suspension was based on preliminary investigation that indicated that the quality of plastering work, including the quality of materials used, were not up to required standard.

An official said the two engineers had the task of monitoring the quality of construction. The structural quality will be assessed by a team from IIT-Madras. Further action on others responsible, including the contractor, will be taken based on the team’s report. “If there is a problem, we will take action,” the official said.

Two clusters, one with 864 units and another with 1,056 units, were built by the TNSCB at the site after the old and dilapidated tenements were demolished. The residents were moved to temporary shelters nearby. They are yet to move into the new buildings as they are opposed to the TNSCB’s demand of ₹1.5 lakh from each allottee. The quality of construction snowballed into a controversy after it was first raised by the allottees.

Meanwhile, V.S. Thennarasu, managing partner of P.S.T. Engineering Construction, the private company that built the tenements, issued a public statement through advertisements in some dailies on Friday, stating that the construction was of good quality.

Pointing out that the company had undertaken over hundred construction projects for the State government, Mr. Thennarasu said the two clusters were respectively handed over in 2019 and 2020 and were subsequently certified to be of expected quality by the TNSCB’s Executive Engineer.

Arappor Iyakkam on Friday demanded that a criminal case be filed against the officials concerned, the contractor and the third party engaged by the TNSCB to certify quality. It said the role of former Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, who handled the Housing and Urban Development portfolio along with the TNSCB, must also be probed.

Alleging that there were a number of issues with the tenements, including lifts, water supply and fire safety, the organisation demanded that a public hearing be conducted to listen to the grievances of the allottees.

Demanding the recovery of the cost of construction from the contractor, the organisation asked that the ₹1.5 lakh demanded from the allottees be waived.

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