The alleged ‘unholy’ ties between Indore municipal corporation commissioner Manish Singh and city-based consultant Hitendra Mehta of Mehta and Associates raise doubts over the blueprint of Indore’s Smart City project, especially after seven BJP corporators on Friday submitted a memorandum to divisional commissioner Sanjay Dubey and demanded a Lokayukta probe into Singh’s alleged disproportionate assets.
Mehta and Associates is one of the 48 firms shortlisted by the government of India for making proposals for Smart City projects, and it has been awarded the tender to design Smart City plan by the Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC). The consulting firm has been given about Rs 35 lakhs for this purpose.
In that complaint, the corporators also alleged that Singh and Mehta have been ‘working together’ for a long time, and Singh has been favouring Mehta in getting government projects.
“Between 2007 and 2009, when Singh served as commissioner of Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC), many business assignments were awarded to Mehta and Associates. After Singh was transferred from the post, Mehta could not get any assignment from Bhopal,” the complaint read.
In addition, Singh is also alleged to have favoured Mehta in getting several projects in his capacity as managing director of Audyogik Kendra Vikas Nigam.
Widespread demolitions in the name of Smart City development
The Indore’s Smart City project is mired in controversy from day one, as it has been demolishing some of the oldest settlements of the city in the name of Smart City development.
Hundreds of families in Biyabani and Malganj areas have been protesting against widespread demolitions and alleged about the vested interests of some politicians and officials in carrying out such demolitions and displacing native residents to remote places in the city.
IMC sources, however, said that selection of Mehta and Associates was done through an open bidding process and was awarded the tender at a reasonable pricing. The consulting firm has been given about Rs 35 lakh for designing Indore’s Smart City project.