Always in the news mostly for the wrong reasons, the cash-strapped Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) has been caught on the wrong foot again, this time on alleged charges of siphoning public money by doling out payment for a civil work which never took off.
Taking a serious note of the issue the divisional commissioner’s office (Konkan Bhawan) which controls the administration of municipalities has directed the district collector to conduct a detailed probe into the matter which is related to a proposal approved under the government-sponsored 'Dalit Vasti Sudhar Yojana' for the reconstruction of a civic community hall in the Sainath Seva Nagar area of Ghodbunder village, Kashimira.
After an official nod from the general body in February 2018, tenders were floated and work orders for the Rs. 24 lakh reconstruction project was awarded to a private agency by MBMC’s Public Works Department in October 2018. However, four months later, the MBMC doled out the payment for the work which had failed to see the light of the day.
The matter came to light when social activist Rajesh Jadhav sourced out information about the scope of work in the tender allocation and found that the payments had indeed been released to the contractor, sans any type of re-construction work of the said community hall.
While executive engineer Suresh Vakode did not respond to phone calls, another official who requested anonymity clarified that the entire locality comes under Dalit vasti and the said funds were utilized to enhance facilities on a vacant land opposite the community hall which is being used as a market place.
“This is a clear-cut case of cheating and embezzlement of public funds. All those responsible be it the contractor or officials all should be taken to task,” said Jadhav.
The Dalit Vasti Sudhar Yojana is an ambitious programme launched by the state government to prepare a master plan for disbursement of funds for various developmental works meant for Dalit community. Deputy commissioner ( Konkan Bhawan) Yogesh Kaduskar has asked the district collector to conduct a probe and submit its findings at the earliest.