₹500-cr road contracts: BMC orders probe after CAG reportUpdated: Dec 08, 2019 01:16 IST
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Saturday said it has ordered an inquiry into possible wrongdoing by the road department after Hindustan Times reported that the comptroller and auditor general of India (CAG) has questioned the civic body on bills and contracts involving blacklisted contractors.
HT had reported on Saturday that CAG carried out test checks on the records of BMC’s road and traffic department for a period of one month, between July and August 2019. It inspected transactions carried out between April 2015 and March 2019.
The test-check report was submitted by CAG to municipal commissioner Praveen Pardeshi in October 2019. In the report, CAG questioned how BMC had cleared bills for blacklisted contractors without conducting third-party audits of the completed works, which is mandatory according to tender conditions.
On Saturday, the BMC said it will conduct a probe to find out who is responsible for clearing bills for blacklisted contractors. Municipal commissioner Praveen Pardeshi confirmed that he had ordered a departmental enquiry into the same. Additional municipal commissioner Vijay Singhal said, “A preliminary inquiry will be conducted by the department and a report will be prepared. We will sit and go through the report in a detailed manner to fix the responsibility.”
CAG’s report also slammed the civic body for not collecting penalties from contractors and non-recovery of tax deducted at source (TDS) and Good & Services Tax (GST) from blacklisted road contractors. The total amount lost due to the above is estimated at ₹2 crore. Further, CAG said that BMC had lost ₹2.20 crore in revenue owing to delays in issuing work orders for public parking lots and street parking.
Meanwhile, corporators slammed the BMC over the CAG report. Leader of Opposition and Congress corporator Ravi Raja said, “There is no accountability when it comes to BMC and all these delays are being done to have cost escalations. Also, in case of clearing bills for blacklisting contractors without third-party audits – this is something that should not happen and officials should be held responsible for these actions.” Rais Shaikh, a Samajawadi Party corporator, said, “Be it roads or any department, BMC has always been for the contractors, by the contractors.”
Citizen activist Nikhil Desai said, “We have seen a road scam in BMC around two years ago, and still the picture is same. Road are not good, there are potholes every monsoon, and CAG reports are never taken seriously. BMC should take strict action against the responsible officials to prove that they are serious about these findings.”