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Over 400 cycles bought for Raahgiri rust away at fire HQ

he MCG had purchased 600 bicycles, priced at Rs33.67 lakh, for the Raahgiri event five years ago. Of these, the 428 abandoned cycles cost Rs24 lakh.

gurgaon Updated: Apr 28, 2019 00:33 IST
Raahgiri,rust away,fire HQ
Even as Raahgiri Day goes on without the availability of free cycles every Sunday, 428 cycles that were bought by the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) in 2014 for the purpose rust away at the Sector 29 fire station.(Yogendra Kumar/HT PHOTO)

Even as Raahgiri Day goes on without the availability of free cycles every Sunday, 428 cycles that were bought by the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) in 2014 for the purpose rust away at the Sector 29 fire station.

The MCG had purchased 600 bicycles, priced at Rs33.67 lakh, for the Raahgiri event five years ago. Of these, the 428 abandoned cycles cost Rs24 lakh.

For nearly a year, the bicycles would be parked at the Raahgiri event and could be used by participants after depositing their identification cards (IDs) with the organisers as security. Once done, they would return the bicycles to the organisers and retrieve their IDs.

According to officials, just over a year after purchasing the cycles, MCG could not directly account for 172 of them. The remaining 428, officials said, had been distributed among two private contractors and the fire department. The 172 bicycles had been donated to “people” in 2016, MCG officials said, adding that a Lokayukta inquiry is going on in this matter.

Fire department officials said the fire headquarters in Sector 29 was used for stationing the 428 bicycles until 2015, with the private contractors wheeling them out whenever the Raahgiri events took place. When the contract for it got over in 2015, the bicycles continued to remain at the fire station— unused.

“Since the fire department comes under the ambit of the MCG, it is their property and they have used its premises to park more than 400 cycles for the last five years. These were never donated to the fire department, and there is no documentary evidence to support this. Anyway, bicycles will be of no assistance to the fire department,” said IS Kashyap, assistant divisional fire safety officer.

Kashyap said he had informed MCG officials about the condition of the cycles in 2015 and 2016 but received no concrete response from them. The matter has remained in the current state since then.

MCG commissioner Yashpal Yadav, when contacted regarding the matter, said he has asked officials to look into it.

“Six months ago, I was informed by some of the MCG officials that these (428) cycles had been donated to the fire department. I have directed officials to once again check if that is the case. Either way, if the fire officials have no requirement for the cycles we will try to mend them and use them for public initiatives,” said Yadav.

Sarika Panda Bhatt, co-founder of the Raahgiri initiative, meanwhile, said that bicycles were last used in Raahgiri on November 25 last year but these were provided by a private aggregator. “A private firm, which had an agreement with the MCG, was providing its own cycles for Raahgiri. However, it appears that they may have withdrawn due to lack of funds. Cycles are a key feature of Raahgiri and heavily sought after by residents during each event. Hence we need state support to ensure they can once again be provided to residents,” said Bhatt.

First Published: Apr 28, 2019 00:33 IST