The Indian Express: Mumbai: Friday, December 09, 2016.
AFTER scams on roads, drain de-silting and anaesthesia machines, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has been hit by allegations of yet another scam, this time in the transportation of garbage. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) corporator Sandeep Deshpande alleged in the Standing Committee Thursday the scam was worth Rs 900 crore and involved 43 contractors.
Deshpande said fellow corporator Sujatha Pathak from the T ward had prepared a report on alleged violations of tender conditions by the contractors appointed in the N, S and T wards for transporting garbage. “Several residents of the three wards complained their waste was not being collected regularly, which prompted us to probe the issue. We applied for documents under the Right to Information Act and found 15 violations of the tender conditions. We are confident all other companies have similarly cheated the BMC,” he said.
Deshpande added that similar to the findings of the inquiry into the de-silting scam, logsheets of the vehicle tracking system of garbage compactors indicated similar anomalies. “There are multiple entries of the same truck with overlapping entry and exit timings. In other cases, while one shift mandates an eight-hour duty time, there are entries where a large compactor has completed the shift in 15 seconds,” he said, adding that the transportation of garbage to the three dumping grounds has been given out in eight tenders to 43 companies in the city divided into six zones.
Alleging that solid waste management officials were hand in glove with the contractors, he said, “While the tender conditions clearly state the companies bidding for them cannot be related to each other, documents indicate the owners of two such companies are brothers with the same official address. Officials have overlooked violations of this kind and the tender conditions have been designed to benefit the contractors.”
He alleged that RTI documents revealed all the 96 compactors (small, mini and large) transporting garbage had expired fitness certificates. Deshpande said he had sent the findings to the mayor, the municipal commissioner, the chief minister as well as the Governor but had not received any response.
“There is a scam of Rs 900 crore and the citizens have suffered because of it. There should be an inquiry, which has to be completed within a time-frame unlike the road scam inquiry, and SWM officials need to be suspended to ensure they don’t tamper with evidence,” he said. Even though none of the corporators from the Shiv Sena spoke on the issue, Standing Committee chairperson Yashodhar Phanse asked the administration to study the documents submitted by Deshpande and file a reply at the next meeting.