MC takes Rs 10 cr hit due to negligence

  • Hillary Victor, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Oct 21, 2014 10:45 IST

Though the Fourth Delhi Finance Commission’s report has recommended civic officials should be held accountable for any financial losses incurred by the municipal corporation, the latter’s top brass does not look the least bit perturbed.

During the past three years, negligence of MC officials has cost the civic body at least Rs 10 crore, but so far action has been taken against those responsible. Taxpayers’ money has been frittered away in the form of penalties, project overruns and costly litigation.

Former city mayor Subhash Chawla said: “It’s beyond our comprehension why no action is being taken against erring officials who are continuously asking councillors to pay Rs 22 lakh for scrapping the day market project in Mauli Jagran.”

Road project stalled

In 2007 the civic body awarded a contract for recarpeting roads in Sector 40 to Sutlej Construction Co. Though the latter failed to commence work on the project even after being issued a dozen notices, the civic body did not rescind the contract nor was the firm blacklisted. Later, tenders for the project were recalled but not before saddling the MC with a loss of Rs 50 lakh. “Why has the civic body not taken any action against the erring officials who caused a huge loss to the government exchequer? And why isn’t the MC recovering the money from these officials?” asked nominated councillor Surender Bahga.

Pipes bought without approval

The MC’s public health department had purchased reinforced cement concrete pipes worth Rs 80 lakh to be laid in Sector 50 to drain rainwater. Though the contractor supplied the pipes in January they remain scattered at the site. “The cost estimate for the pipes was not approved and the matter has now been sent to MC officials,” said subdivisional engineer Gulshan Kumar. Deputy mayor Davesh Moudgil asked: “Why have the officials concerned not been held accountable?”

Rs 2 crore arbitration loss incurred

Last August the civic body suffered a loss of Rs 1.5 crore in arbitration and had to give Rs 42 lakh to a Delhi-based firm, Subhash Project Marketing Ltd, which had been allotted a contract in 2007 to construct a multilevel parking lot adjacent to the circus ground in Sector 17 at a cost of Rs 44 crore on built, operate & transfer (BOT) basis. The firm had appealed for arbitration after the project was delayed due to several roadblocks. The firm was to complete the project within 18 months and, thereafter, maintain it for a period of nine years.

However, after the MC failed to the give them possession of site, the firm backed out of the project citing huge cost overruns and went for arbitration.

Toilets remain vacant

Even after two years the civic body has not taken possession of 18 toilet blocks built at a cost of around Rs 1.1 crore, as a result of which all of them remain locked.

Shopping booths unallotted

The MC has suffered losses of nearly Rs 5 crore during the past one decade due to its failure in framing a policy on allotment of nearly 240 shopping booths in various areas of the city. Despite several house meetings held to discuss the issue nothing has been done so far. Besides, 26 booths at the airconditioned fish market in Sector 41 have remained vacant for the past three years, causing a huge loss to the MC. Last November the MC built 40 shopping booths under the newly constructed overbridge in Sector 17, but all of them have remained vacant till date.

Meanwhile, MC chief Vivek Pratap Singh said: “I’m not aware of any of these cases as all of them are very old. During the past three years no punitive action has been initiated against any civic official in any case”.

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