The decision of the DMK government in Tamil Nadu to award the contract for developing infrastructure at the proposed Fintech City in Nandambakkam to the Namakkal-based PST Engineering Construction (PSTEC) has come under severe criticism from opposition parties, including BJP and NGO Arappor Iyakkam.
Last week, Chief Minister M K Stalin laid the foundation stone for developing Fintech City and Fintech Tower in Nandambakkam in Chennai at Rs 116 crores and Rs 254 crores, respectively.
PSTEC bagged the contract for infrastructure development at Fintech City, quoting Rs 83 crores. While PSTEC also submitted a bid for the construction of the Fintech Tower, Bengaluru-based firm URC Construction Private Limited emerged as the lowest bidder at Rs151.5 crore.
In October 2021, PSTEC came under the scanner after a scathing report by the Centre for Urbanisation, Building and Environment (CUBE) on the quality of the residential dwellings constructed by the firm for a state housing project.
Assessing the quality of 864 of the apartments developed by the Tamil Nadu Urban Habitat Development Board (TNUH1056DB) at Kesava Pillai (KP) park in Pulianthope, the CUBE, a joint Initiative of IIT Madras and Tamil Nadu Government, found "poor quality" and "unacceptable workmanship" of plastering as one of the critical defects out of several discrepancies that led to faulty construction in the tenements.
The study was conducted after the occupants raised several complaints about the stability and quality of construction. The KP Park tenements complained of leaky ceilings, damaged staircases, cracks in the doors, faulty lifts, and broken water pipes and claimed that this was because of the alleged substandard structures.
The report cited shortcomings in tiling works, such as improper fixing, hollowness, and inadequate grouting at the edges, as the leading causes of widespread seepages. According to the report, improper sealing of closets and floor traps also contributes to the seepage.
Following the report, the government promised strict action against the contractor. HR&CE Minister P.K. Sekarbabu told the media in October 2021 that the government had decided not to award any more projects to PSTEC.
A Chennai-based NGO, Arappor Iyakkam, filed a complaint with the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) to probe possible corruption in awarding the K.P. Park contract to the company.
The housing project was awarded during the previous ADMK rule.
Tamil Nadu Bharatiya Janata Party leader K Annamalai demanded that the DMK government immediately cancel the FinTech city construction contract given to PSTEC and demanded appropriate action against the private firm.
"The Financial Technology City (FinTech City) which was planned during the previous DMK regime, seems to have been given a contract to a construction company called PST. It is ironic that PST, which has been chosen by the incompetent DMK government to carry out the construction work of this project, which has been shelved for the last 14 years without a single brick being laid, is the same company accused by the DMK regime of constructing shoddy buildings, "Annamalai alleged.
The proposed fintech city is coming up on 54-acre land. The state government has claimed the project will attract an investment of Rs 12,000 crore and has an employment potential of 80,000.
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