The civic body in 2008 decided that it must educate Mumbaiites on how the city’s water supply system works, for which it commissioned a theme garden 80 km away from the city, at the Panjrapore filtration plant, beyond Bhiwandi.
Last year, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) suddenly realised that allowing the public to visit this facility could pose a security risk and decided it would not permit visitors. The money spent: Rs 7 crore. The garden is not yet ready.
In 2011, the BMC admitted that the three pothole-repair machines it had spent Rs 71 crore on are lying idle because of technical issues.
These are just two examples that show how careless the BMC is with the taxpayers’ money and how urgently its expenditures need to be monitored.
In the past five years, the BMC has spent close to Rs 40,000 crore on capital works, to improve water supply, for better roads, to prevent floods. Despite this, the city is in a mess.
A survey conducted by Hindustan Times, published in the November 23 edition, revealed that 70% of the
respondents were unhappy with the BMC’s functioning in the past five years and said it has done its worst
when it comes to providing basic amenities such as clean water and good roads.
For every other civic corporation in the state, the Maharashtra local audit fund, an independent body, conducts an audit of accounts. Not the BMC.
One of the biggest and richest civic bodies in India has no external
body monitoring its spending. The only audit that ever happens is by the municipal chief auditor department, an internal department, whose reports are ignored.
From 2007-08 until July 2011, the civic finances department did not even submit the balance sheets to the department.
As a result, for four years, there have been no checks on the way the BMC is using the taxpayers’ money.
V Ranganathan, former chief secretary who has also served as the civic commissioner, said: “Since the audit is an internal process, the monitoring of finances is greatly limited.”
The municipal chief auditor department sent an audit note in September last year to the administration, criticising the way the BMC has been spending money.
Pointing out specific flaws, the note said the quality of work on civic projects suffers tremendously because of the total lack of checks and balances.