Tired of waiting for corporators to return laptops issued to them, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to make them pay, literally.
The civic administration has told corporators who do not want to return the laptops to buy them for Rs24,275. If a corporator neither turns in the laptop, nor pays for it, he/she will not be eligible to contest the upcoming civic polls.
On January 13, the civic body had issued notices to all corporators, asking them to turn in the machines. The laptops, costing Rs52,000 each, had been purchased by the civic body and given to corporators on a returnable basis.
The BMC spent more than Rs1.04 crore to buy the 280 laptops, of which 232 were given to corporators (227 elected and 5 nominated) and the rest to senior officials.
However, as of January 25, nearly a fortnight after the notice was issued, only 67 corporators had surrendered their laptops. The corporators have time till January 30 to either surrender the laptops, or buy them off the BMC.
“Even if they are not contesting the polls, they have to do one of the above as this is the BMC’s property,” said Aseem Gupta, additional municipal commissioner, adding that corporators would need to procure a ‘no dues’ certificate before the polls.
However, the civic body’s move to charge them has not gone down too well with the corporators.
“On what grounds has the administration fixed the cost?” asked Vakarunnisa Ansari, a Congress corporator.
Mangesh Satamkar, a Shiv Sena corporator, said Rs10,000 would be a reasonable cost for the laptop.
The civic body had given laptops to all its officials in 2009, to ensure that they can access meeting agendas and proposals online and reduce stationery cost as well as paper work.
However, corporators claim that since the value of the machines has depreciated, they are not in a condition to be passed on to the new set of corporators and hence returning them does not make sense.