The BMC’s promises of a flood-free monsoon and 93% of the storm water drains in Mumbai being cleared of silt have proven false.
Following a probe into the July 19 floods, it has come to light that barely half the work was in fact done. The five-member committee said, contrary to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) claims, only about 50-60% of the desilting work was actually done.
Senior civic officials said they trusted the engineers, who were handling the work, and concluded that more than 90% work was complete. They added that since the engineers were hand in glove with the contractors, they did not know what the ground reality was. They claimed they too were taken by surprise when the city got flooded on June 19 with 288 mm rainfall.
The BMC is now examining the report to take action against those found guilty and will bring all 32 contractors, who were part of the cleaning project, under scanner. The payment to all the contractors has been discontinued following the inquiry, said a senior civic official, who did not wish to be named.
The committee found that the contractors’ claims of desilting and transportation of silt to dumping ground were false. The log sheets show one vehicle used by two different contractors at the same time in two different places. One vehicle that was shown making eight rounds between two sites in a day for 20 hours straight had no record of where the silt was dumped.
Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Mumbai president Ashish Shelar said, “FIRs should be filed against fraudulent contractors, who are involved in forgery of documents, cheating and corruption.” The party has also demanded the introduction of a more effective system to be implemented next monsoon.
Supporting the demand for criminal cases against the fraudulent contractors, Yashodhar Phanse from Shiv Sena, said, “The report nowhere mentions that desilting was incomplete, it clearly states that the silt was not transported by contractors and various other malpractices.”