BMC’s standing committee to figure out how to call in its debts
A special meeting has been planned, though members from Oppn claim it has not done much to collect.mumbai Updated: Aug 27, 2012 01:32 IST
An internal audit report, which revealed last week that the civic body has arrears amounting to more than Rs 2,787 crore till 2008, has prompted the standing committee to take steps to recover the money.
“A special meeting of standing committee members has been planned and a recovery programme will be finalised after a meeting with the additional municipal commissioners,” said Rahul Shewale, Shiv Sena leader and chairman of civic standing committee. “Now onwards, a weekly scrutiny will be conducted of the recoveries made to speed up the process.”
The report, submitted by the chief auditor’s department to the standing committee, has calculated outstandings till 2008. With four years having gone by, this amount could only have gone up.
However, members in the standing committee from the Opposition alleged that over the years, the standing committee has failed to do anything to recover arrears. “For more than a decade, audit reports about arrears amounting to crores of rupees have been tabled, but there has been no seriousness towards recovering them,” said Pravin Chheda, Congress corporator and a member of the standing committee.
According to Chheda, most of these arrears are penalties from contractors or excess payments made to them. “It is a huge scam that has been brushed aside by the administration and the standing committee,” he said.
For departments, recovery of arrears is not a priority. “Arrears are dispatched to respective departments to make recoveries, but there is low compliance,” said a senior official from the civic chief auditor’s department, requesting anonymity.
The audit report has also pointed out financial irregularities such as taking loan when the BMC’s own sources are sufficient. “It is surprising that though capital receipt of Rs.1127.71 crore with surplus of Rs. 458.92 crore at the beginning of 2007 was sufficient to meet the capital expenditure of Rs 1242.33 crore, the administration took a loan of Rs.6.38 crore from the MMRDA.