Corporators across party lines come together on Wednesday to demand an inquiry into how much pre-monsoon work had actually been done in the city.
Elected representatives from the ruling Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance and the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena in the Opposition, expressed displeasure with the municipal corporation over the cleaning of nullahs (drains).
They demanded that the corporation’s vigilance department inquires into how much work was done and how. The contractors should be paid for their work only after the inquiry is complete, they said.
Hindustan Times had conducted an audit of the city's monsoon preparedness earlier this month. A panel of experts visited 10 spots and had found that the pre-monsoon work had not been completed. There was danger of waterlogging in these areas because the nullahs were clogged and there was no way the water could be drained, the audit had point out.
The corporators made similar statements on Wednesday.
Congress corporator Rajhans Singh and Opposition leader in the BMC, who raised the issue in the general body meeting on Wednesday, said, “Cleaning of nullahs should be done through the year instead of two months before the monsoon. If the contractor is paid for a year’s work it is his responsibility to clean the nullah for 12 months.” He said drains have not been cleaned yet and it is matter of concern for the BMC.
Sena corporator and chairman of the civic standing committee Rahul Shewale supported Singh. “Nullahs should be cleaned properly instead of just cosmetic work.”
BJP corporator Yogesh Sagar said BMC officials, from the assistant municipal commissioner to the junior engineer should be held responsible for waterlogging in their areas. “The assistant commissioner should be suspended if his area gets flooded,” said Congress corporator Sameer Desai.
He added that not more than 25 per cent of the work on the storm water drains project, and on pumping stations has been completed. Corporator Rafiq Shaikh, claimed only 15 per cent of minor nullahs have been cleaned, refuting the BMC’s claim that 95 per cent of the drains had been cleaned.
Kaptan Malik alleged, “Nullah-cleaning work is nothing but an eye wash. The CBI should inquire into the process.”
Additional Municipal Commissioner Ashish Kumar Singh said: “We have instructed all ward officials to arrange for joint inspection of the nullahs with the local corporator.”