In a rare case, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has taken strong action in the nullah-cleaning scam. It has suspended 14 civic officers and filed a case against seven contractors.
The crackdown was initiated by municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta after an inquiry ordered by him revealed shoddy pre-monsoon work, which was responsible for many parts of Mumbai getting flooded during the first heavy rainfall in June.
Mumbai desilting scam: BMC suspends errant officials
The probe also revealed that the tender conditions were allegedly flouted to f avour contractors, and throws light on how the contractor-bureaucrat nexus in the civic body has thrived. Following the report, Mehta has put 31 such contracts of over Rs 200 crore under the scanner.
This is definitely a step that will be welcomed by the citizens.
For the past few weeks, civic chief Mehta has undertaken a clean-up operation in the civic body, which was long overdue.
The unholy nexus of politicians, contractors and bureaucrats has made a mess of civic governance. Hundreds of crores of taxpayers’ money is spent on building roads, pavements, storm water drains and handling solid waste management.
It could be well worth investigating what happens to the money- how much of it is actually spent on these works.
What we see is bad roads, missing footpaths, floods during monsoons and an unclean city. Those who are responsible for irregularities are never held accountable. Thankfully, some action is being taken in one case though it is quite clear that there is political support from Mantralaya for the current action.
The BJP, which is determined to win the BMC, is leaving no stone unturned to push the Sena into a corner by showing ‘misrule’ in the BMC, and blaming its alliance partner for the same.
Snatching power in Mumbai civic body, which has a budget of Rs 30,000 crore, and thus cutting off Sena’s source of power and strength is a major KRA for chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. This probably explains why Mehta has got a free hand in dealing with irregularities in the BMC.
Whatever the reasons, the civic chief has been targetting the corrupt nexus. Before the nullah-cleaning contracts, he cancelled three road construction contracts when he suspected foul play. He has started online permission system for building construction proposals.
In a recent interaction with the real estate industry, he even appealed to builders to try and get at least one proposal cleared in the civic body without paying any bribes.
Unlike his predecessor, Mehta did not hide the fact that there were large-scale errors in the draft development plan, and appointed a panel to rectify those.
We as citizens don’t care whether and what political considerations lie behind the clean-up in the civic body, as long as civic governance is improved.
At the same time, we don’t want the action to be symbolic or selective. It should be taken in all cases of irregularities. The BMC needs chemotherapy, not mere cosmetic surgery.