Bhayandar: To ensure immunity from repeated fuel price shocks, one must either be an elected office-bearer or a civic official in the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC), as fuel flows for them for free and abundantly from the taps of the municipal treasury.
According to information received by social activist Azim Tamboli under the RTI Act, the MBMC spends a whopping Rs20 lakh per month in fuel allowances and consolidated vehicle expenses for elected office-bearers and officials attached to various departments.
While 38 officials, including ward’s chief and junior engineers, are entitled to monthly fuel allowances amounting to Rs2,000 each, 21 officer-bearers, including the mayor and chairpersons of various committees, who use their own vehicles for office work, have been drawing a reimbursement of Rs30,000 towards consolidated vehicle expenses every month.
This apart from 21 jeeps procured on-hire basis from a private agency at Rs31,000 per month and a huge amount spent on a fleet of cars owned by the civic body. The conveyance includes driver’s salary, fuel and maintenance cost of the vehicle.
The beneficiaries include officials from different departments who just sit in their offices and do documentation work, but are still drawing the benefits of a vehicle and fuel allowance.
Amongst them are officers, who move around on bikes and chairpersons of newly-formed committees, who rarely stepped into their cabins, but go on to claim car and fuel allowances.
To take care of the weakening financial health of the civic body, former chief Vikram Kumar had adopted a series of austerity measures, including withdrawal of car allowance, his successor Suresh Kakani managed to continue for a while. But, after their abrupt transfers, fuel continues to flow like water in MBMC.
By Suresh Golani