Pune mayor commits to action, blames civic chief for duct-less pipeline
Pune mayor Murlidhar Mohol on Tuesday resolved to take action against those responsible for not executing ducts as part of the 24x7 water pipeline project, despite a work order.
Mohol said, “It is true that as the ruling party we are responsible for this but it is not our work to check the work on the ground. We elected members approved the policy to lay the ducts along with the 1,700km water pipeline. Even the general body gave a nod for it and approved Rs195 crore for the ducts. It is the municipal administration and municipal commissioner’s responsibility to check whether the work is going on as per the work order or not.”
The mayor who warned of strict action said he was informed of the lapses in the construction only a few days ago and has called a meeting with selected officers for the same.
“There are two groups within the administration and they are intentionally not doing the duct work despite being instructed by the general body. I would ensure that there would be ducts along with the water pipeline and have called a meeting for the same very soon,” he said.
PMC standing committee chairman Hemant Rasne said, “It is shocking. I have instructed the administration to present a detailed report on it. Why has the duct work not been carried out? Has the administration taken permission from elected members to put this work on hold?”
The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) approved the 24x7 water scheme in February 2018. Earlier it cost Rs 3,000 crore. After a lot of opposition by various NGOs and politicians, the cost of the project came down by Rs 1,000 crore.
As the roads are going to be dug in most parts of the city, the former municipal commissioner had added the component of ducts for laying of optical fibre cables as well.
Earlier the cost was Rs 290 crore, but it was finalised at Rs 195 crore.
In a report on Tuesday, HT highlighted that 300km work of the 24x7 water pipeline was completed, but the ducts have not been built in.
Vivek Velenkar, RTI activist said, “It’s shocking that despite being a tender item, the work of duct has not been carried out. The ducts will give revenue to the PMC and the civic body would not need to dig the roads every year. It is a good chance to construct the ducts in the whole city along with the 24x7 water project. The cost of the duct should be recovered from the guilty person and at any cost, it would not pass on taxpayers.”
Former mayor Prashant Jagtap said it was shocking that despite the ducts being listed as a tender item, the work was ignored.
“I wrote a letter to the municipal commissioner and asked for an inquiry immediately. Even it is the responsibility of the ruling party to check whether the work is carried on the ground or not. As the ruling party did not have control over administration, they surpassed them,” Jagtap said.
BJP leader and former opposition leader Ujwal Keskar said, “Action must be taken against all those who are responsible for not doing the duct work despite it being mentioned in the tender.”
Shiv Sena leader Prashant Badhe said that the project began in 2018 and after three years, it has been exposed as work on the ducts have not been carried out.
“The administration as well as office bearers are responsible for it. Since the beginning, this scheme is doubtful as it was inflated by almost Rs 1,000 crore. We would raise the voice in the PMC and on the road for not erecting ducts,” Badhe said.