A recent audit report reveals that the education department of the civic body has made excess payment of Rs24.89 crore towards the salary of security guards in civic schools.
However, it is unclear whether the excess payment reached the guards, or was meant for the private contractors that provide them to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
The 2009-10 and the 2010-11 report of the civic chief auditors office shows that the education department paid more than Rs26,000 as salary of each security guard to contractors. In comparison, the salary for security guards posted at octroi posts is just Rs13,800. The difference in salaries is over Rs12,000. By multiplying this with the number of guards employed at civic schools, the audit report arrived at the excess amount, i.e, Rs24.89 crore.
Contents of the audit report were accessed through a Right to Information claim, filed by RTI activist Pramod Kadam.
“The report shows the excess payment made to the private contractors for the salary of security guards at civic schools. Such payment gives more margin for contractors to profit, and doesn’t really benefit the workers,” said Kadam.
The activist has written a letter to municipal commissioner Subodh Kumar, bringing the issue to his notice. “He simply said that the letter has been marked to the concerned department,” said Kadam.
The contract for housekeeping services and security guards at civic schools was awarded to two contractors in January 2009, for Rs47.91 crore annually. It is a three-year contract, subject to extension, according to the MCGM letter, a copy of which is with HT.
When contacted, the deputy municipal commissioner, AG Hire, said: “I don’t have a copy of the audit report, so I cannot comment on it. However, it is true that the education department had availed of such security guards and housekeeping services, for which open tenders were called and approved by the standing committee upon scrutiny.”
Commenting on the findings of the RTI claim, social activist Krishnaraj Rao said: “The above report reveal the nexus between politicians, contractors and bureaucrats. Even though the excess payment is brought to the notice of municipal commissioner, the contract has not been terminated; in fact, it is expected to be renewed.