Bhayandar: After extended delays due to the poll code imposition, the pre-monsoon de-silting operations finally took off in the twin-city on May 10. The BJP-led Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) awarded tenders worth Rs3 crore for manual and mechanical excavation with JCBs, boat-poclain’s and hydraulic earth moving machines for de-silting across the six zonal divisions.

A private firm has been roped in to provide suction pumps to de-water chronic flooding spots. However, the Opposition has alleged the contractors can exploit loopholes in the clock-based pricing structure. Instead of fixing accountability compulsions, the MBMC has chosen hourly and shift-based billing to allow the contractor to continue with the routine money minting exercise.

However, the officials claimed they took adequate measures to prevent any manipulations in the hiring process. “While real-time video-recording of on-duty labour and in-action machines have been necessitated and would be submitted with the bills, apart from manual logbook records, dedicated teams will supervise work at the ward level,” Balaji Khatgaonkar, the civic chief, said.

“Apart from exploiting the loopholes in clock-based billing system, the contractor is also exploiting the poor workers by denying minimum wages,” Anil Nautiyal, a social activist, alleged. The twin-city has around 155 major and minor nullahs, measuring up to 240 kms.

While there is disbelief at the MBMC’s claims the de-silting will be over before the monsoon, the bigger and more immediate worry for civic officials is the rampant dumping of construction debris at places, which may block the natural flow of water.