BMC saves ₹29cr from desilting budget
The desilting scam, which unfolded last year, revealed that civic officials in connivance with contractors duped BMC by approving payments for incomplete work.mumbai Updated: Oct 24, 2016 00:26 IST
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) efforts to correct whatever caused the storm water drains (SWD) desilting scam last year proved to be fruitful as the civic body has this time saved 30% of the budgeted amount for the work.
The desilting scam, which unfolded last year, revealed that civic officials in connivance with contractors duped BMC by approving payments for incomplete work. But unlike previous years, it verified the quantum of work done by the contractors before approving proposed bills this year.
The BMC’s SWD department has approved bills of Rs51 crore, which is 30% less than the Rs80 crore budget estimated for desilting in this financial year.
The civic body has introduced reforms when it comes to desilting contracts and also instructed officials that real-time monitoring of vehicles by connecting it to BMC’s main server should be done, for better transparency. Officials from SWD department and vigilance department also regularly monitored the procedure. Moreover, silt being measured by weight and not volume, proved to be a major reform.
The civic body, in 2013-2014 approved bills of Rs60 crore, in 2014-2015 of about Rs100 crores, which were equal to the budgeted amount. This brought to light that the BMC had no system in place to verify if the work done actually amounted to the billed cost or not. But the bills issued last year (2015-16) were not more than Rs 27 crore, as after the scam was unearthed, payments were not made, said civic officials.
Now, the extra-cautious civic body has verified each bill book and weighed the quantum of silt removed – a tweaked contract condition that has helped BMC know the amount of work done.
A senior civic official said, “Earlier without even verifying the quantum of silt removed as it was measured in volume, the bills were cleared. This time, there was extra supervision from our side and that’s how we approved bills on the basis of the weight that was checked at several check-nakas of SWD department.”
A detailed desilting inquiry report revealed the fraudulent practices by contractors and civic officials. It also mentioned an attempt made to scam the civic body of Rs 38 crore as contractors had submitted bogus bills and civic officials approved them.
The detailed report just like the preliminary report also pointed out use of two-wheelers, jeeps and other light vehicles instead of open dumpers specified in tender conditions and even the Vehicle Tracking System’s records were manipulated.