A report prepared by Konkan divisional commissioner Tanaji Satre has found misappropriation of funds in around 91 water supply schemes of Thane and newly carved Palghar district, costing more than Rs 100 crore to the state exchequer, giving a sense of deep-rooted corruption in our system.
The report has recommended filing of criminal cases in 47 schemes against members of Villages Water Supply and Sanitation Committee (VWSSC) and Technical Service Provider (TSP) while holding them responsible for misappropriation of funds comprising both the districts. The local administration has already filed criminal cases in 31 cases so far.
More shockingly, the VWSSC was found to have usurped funds of around 20 schemes that were released by the state water supply and sanitation department but no work has started in all these years.
The report has recommended recovery of the amount from them with immediate effect. It has further recommended to mention the amount in land records (7/12 extract) of the accused so that the amount can be recovered from them, in case the amount was not returned to the government.
The shocking revelation was made after the state water supply and sanitation department on December 12, 2015, issued orders to investigate numerous complaints for misappropriation in water supply schemes initiated in the districts in the past 10 years.
How the scam took place
Chairman and office-bearers of VWSSC’s with local government officers (junior and senior engineers of the department) prepared a proposal for high-cost water supply schemes and by appointing TSP of their choice.
Poor and sub-standard work was done in many schemes while in many other cases only pipeline was laid without developing source of water.
This is because the margin in laying pipeline is much higher than developing water source for the scheme. As a result, the report pointed out that around 267 schemes from both the districts are still under progress, sources said.