Assault on Pune municipal corporation official puts civic tenders in spotlight
From the past two years, PMC has been under scanner for tender cartels, leading to alleged corruption.Updated: Feb 13, 2019 14:33 IST
The assault on Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) additional commissioner Rajendra Nimbalkar has once again thrown the spotlight on the tendering process in the civic body. On Monday, Congress workers became violent when Nimbalkar reportedly did not give satisfactory responses to corporators Arvind Shinde and Ravindra Dhangekar. The provocation was over a tender for removing hyacinth from the Katraj and Pashan lakes in the city limits.
From the past two years, PMC has been under scanner for tender cartels, leading to alleged corruption. There have been allegations that the PMC officials in connection with members of ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) allowed tenders at inflated costs, which was then withdrawn following the criticism.
The latest incident involves the tender of ₹23 crore for clearing the hyacinth from Katraj and Pashan lakes. The tender was recently floated for a contract of five years when hyacinth had already been removed by local corporators using their ward fund. Opposition members in the civic body alleged that tender was floated with an inflated cost which was eight times higher than the provision made in the annual budget - leading to allegations.
Nimbalkar, who was manhandled, said that there is no corruption in the tender process. “I have filed the police complaint against the elected members for the assault and law will take its action,” said Nimbalkar.
While the tender had be scrapped after criticism, municipal commissioner Saurabh Rao and mayor Mukta Tilak also accepted that the tender cost in hyacinth tender was inflated and have ordered an inquiry to it. According to the mayor the inquiry will be conducted through a retired High Court judge.
“The tender was over priced and so the administration decided to scrap it. As instructed by the mayor, the administration will submit it’s own report on the tender issue,” said PMC commissioner Saurabh Rao.
On Monday when Congress corporators Arvind Shinde and Ravindra Dhangekar went to Nimbalkar to seek explanation, his response led to ruckus, finally resulting into his manhandling by Congress workers.
This wasn’t the first time, PMC had to scrap tender following the allegations of inflated cost. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis during 2018 had to interfere in two tender cases for 24x7 water schemes and forced to scrap them. Even in the case of Katraj-Kondhwa road, the civic body had to cancel the tender four times and carry out the fresh process.
Civic activist, Vijay Kumbhar said, “Releasing tenders at an inflated cost is an open secret of the PMC. The civic body and the political workers are involved in corruption. Such cases will increase in the future. During the Congress party’s tenure the party feared the media and the civic activists, whereas the BJP does not fear and care about anyone.”
First Published: Feb 13, 2019 14:10 IST