Mumbai June 19 flooding: Report reveals ‘shocking’ malpractices

  • Vaishnavi Vasudevan, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Sep 03, 2015 22:37 IST

A detailed inquiry report into the June 19 flooding revealed a nexus between contractors and officials conducting the pre-monsoon work on roads and nullahs.

The 145-page report submitted by a team headed by deputy municipal commissioner Prakash Patil on Wednesday exposed fraudulent practices by contractors in connivance with the civic engineers, who manipulated records and log books.

Civic officials said the contractors concerned will be blacklisted, while seven to eight engineers are likely to face suspension. The contractors may even be prosecuted, they said.

The inquiry was ordered by civic chief Ajoy Mehta following allegations that the pre-monsoon work was not up to the mark.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) spent around Rs186 crore on cleaning the city’s storm water drains.

A senior civic official, who did not wish to be named, said, “In the process of preparing the report, the team found several malpractices. Some contractors even removed the GPS devices fitted onto the trucks used for transporting silt and fitting them on two-wheelers to show the required number of trips – the silt was not being transported at all. The engineers responsible for keeping an eye did not question the practice.”

The report, though, does not suggest any action against those found guilty. It suggests changes in certain administrative and technical procedures that will help in better vigilance of the contractors.

Sources, however, said a senior civic official is studying the report and actions will be announced by the municipal commissioner after a week.

“There are chances of more engineers being suspended. We have stopped all payments to the contractors. Assistant engineers, sub engineers from the storm water drains department and local ward engineers who are found supporting the contractors, are also likely to face action,” an officer said.

Reacting to allegations that Shiv Sena prevented the report from being tabled in the standing committee, Samajwadi Party corporator Rais Shaikh said, “By suppressing the report, the Sena is opening up possibilities of manipulation.”

Standing committee chairman Yashodhar Phanse of the Sena said, “We received the report just a few hours before the standing committee meeting. I haven’t seen it myself; it will be tabled in the next meeting.”

The BMC has seized all log books and records from across the ward offices for investigation. Three trucks of seized documents reached the civic headquarters on Wednesday evening.

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