Even as the Chandigarh municipal corporation is all set to formulate a new policy on water kiosks allotment, it seems to have conveniently forgotten the Rs 50-lakh loss it has incurred due to its ad hoc stance on the matter over the years.
Sample this: An agenda item approved by the Finance and Contract Committee of the MC on August 14 states that the allotment of three water kiosks in Sector 17 would be done by formulating a new policy.
However, an HT investigation has revealed that the process to allot the kiosks was last finalised seven years ago and the contractor functioned illegally and caused a loss of Rs 50 lakh to the corporation due to the revenue lost from advertising rights at the kiosks. The contractor was forced to shut down its operations in June last year.
The MC, surprisingly, was aware of the matter. Municipal commissioner Vivek Pratap Singh had ordered an inquiry in July 2013, but even after a year, no notice has been issued to the company operating the kiosks or any action taken against officers who allowed it to operate.
The issue came to light after BJP councillor Satinder Singh raised it a meeting of the MC House. He had claimed that the company, JB Advertisers, which was given the contract of the kiosks along with advertisement rights in 2005, had been given the contract for a year, but continued operations for seven years.
“The officers of the civic body never bothered to implement the terms and conditions of the deal,” the councillor had alleged.
The commissioner had, at that time, admitted to a lapse on the part of the MC and ordered the removal of advertisements and closure of the kiosks and assured the house that these would be auctioned again, but nothing has been done so far.
Speaking to HT, councillor Singh claimed that the delay in action meant that the officers were hand in glove with the company officials.
“I will raise the issue in the coming house meeting as we cannot allow the civic body to suffer a loss. Before going ahead with new allotment, we want that the MC should recover pending dues and take action against officers responsible,” he said.
A contractor, willing to run the kiosks, alleged that civic body was deliberately not disclosing the terms and conditions of the old contract as the officials wanted to ensure that their favoured company won the deal. “If the MC was fair and wanted transparency, the officials should have first recovered the pending amount and penalised erring officers,” he said.
In spite of repeated attempts, MC commissioner Vivek Pratap Singh could not be contacted. City mayor Harphool Chander Kalyan said, “I will take up the matter with the MC commissioner.”