The municipality should scrap the contract system for minor civic work and simply get it done by internal civic staff, a Congress corporator has demanded.
Vinod Shekhar, the corporator from Colaba, said the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is now run by a lobby of contractors who are responsible for the bad condition of roads and other city infrastructure.
Shekhar has written to Mayor Shraddha Jadhav demanding that projects like the repair of potholes on roads, and the demolition of minor encroachments should be done using civic employees who are trained for this job.
He has pointed out that civic workers did precisely this kind of work until two decades ago, after which it began to be outsourced to private contractors.
Jadhav was not available for comment as she was in Dubai to attend Vishwa Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, a literary meet. Her office confirmed she had received the letter and said it will be placed before the general body of elected representatives for discussion.
“For the last few years, the BMC has given contracts for minor projects to private firms. Unless the work is major — say, for projects such as construction of the Middle Vaitarna dam, a water supply tunnel or concretisation of roads, all other small work should be done by civic staff," said Shekhar.
“Two months ago, BMC's Bhandup ward office
awarded a contract to demolish the dangerous portion of two rooms there. The bill came to Rs 6.92 lakh, which is suspicious,” said Shiv Sena corporator Rahul Shewale, also a member of the civic
Standing Committee, seconding the demand. The proposal to clear that bill will be tabled before the committee next week.
“This is an example of the contract system, which is why I'm insisting on getting such work done by our own employees — it will be cheaper, will generate employment for the youth, and reduce the scope for corruption. Otherwise, the contractor is the only beneficiary,” Shekhar added.