With one eye on the civic polls, the standing committee members of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), led by chairman and Shiv Sena corporator Yashodhar Phanse, approved 71 expenditure proposals amounting to around Rs1,000 crore within 40 minutes on Wednesday.
On an average, the standing committee meeting, which is held every week, gets up to 30 proposals for approvals and not all are approved after discussions.
The elected representatives had listed 74 proposals in the single meeting and had allotted a discussion time of 40 minutes for all of them.
A majority of this time was spent discussing three proposals, which were eventually put on hold.
In a tearing hurry before the election code of conduct sets in, the committee cleared the Rs34 crore proposal for the appointment of a consultant for the ambitious coastal road without any discussion.
The costliest Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link road proposal worth Rs455 crore was also cleared without any questions or doubts from the ruling Sena-BJP and the Opposition.
This is not the first time the BMC has hastily tabled proposals and sought clearances. In August 2014, the BMC had cleared proposals worth Rs850 crore in 90 minutes without any discussion, just before the code of conduct for the Assembly elections.
Before the last civic elections (2012) too, the standing committee, led by Shiv Sena corporator Rahul Shewale, had cleared 30 proposal and 87 proposals worth Rs600 crore each in only two meetings.
Citizen activists have slammed the corporators’ attitude. “This is nothing but a last-minute rush to utilise funds before they lapse and appease voters by making false promises,” said Nikhil Desai, a citizen activist from Dadar.
After the approvals, however, the elected representative spent 30 minutes alleging the civic body did not allow them to buy dustbins from their discretionary fund, because many were afraid the funds will get over before the code of conduct and will be unusable thereafter.