Taking a cue from its earlier failures, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has tweaked the desilting norms this year to ensure transparency.
One of the provisions is monitoring the dumper in real-time by connecting it to the administration’s main server. This means, officials can keep an eye on the vehicle from the time it starts for the nullah till it reaches the dumping ground.
An inquiry last year had revealed a nexus between contractors and administration in the cleaning of nullahs.
Moreover, the BMC also plans to involve the vigilance department to keep a tab on the dumpers, so officials can be held responsible in case of irregularities. Unlike last year, when the desilting procedures had started in April, the BMC started the work at Mithi River and Vakola nullah on March 14.
The civic body has also changed the weighing procedures, which got flak from corporators. Until last year, the silt was weighed based on the volume. “From this year, we will take the actual weight into account for payments. This will ensure the contractors do not get away by quoting higher quantity,” a senior civic official said.
According to the data received from the BMC, the administration had issued 33 tenders to clean major nullahs, and work order for seven of them have been placed. While 16 proposals will be sent to the standing committee soon, 10 are in the process of completion.
The administration had to cancel the tenders twice owing to higher estimation by contractors.
With inadequate response for minor nullahs, the BMC has decided to rope in local organisations and workers to clean the nullahs. “Most of the minor nullahs are only filled with plastic waste. We do not require heavy machinery to remove the silt,” the official said.
Last year, 32 contractors were debarred from bidding for civic contracts after they were found carrying out fraudulent practices after the desilting scam came to light.