The Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) administration has suspended three officials of the Garden department for irregularities in the maintenance of gardens during the lockdown. The civic administration has also asked two contractors to refund Rs 8.34 crore within 15 days and their contract has also been terminated.
Belapur MLA Manda Mhatre had raised the issue with the municipal commissioner, and sought action against officials and the contractor.
The three officials suspended are Administrative Officer Chandrakant Tayade, Deputy Administrative Officer Bhalchandra Gawli and Superintendent of the Garden department Prakash Giri.
Civic chief Abhijit Bangar had issued a show-cause notice to 14 officials of the Garden department and the two contractors after the scam in the gardens’ maintenance surfaced last month.
Following complaints, the civic chief set up an enquiry committee under the executive engineer. Based on the report and reply from officials, three officials were suspended immediately and a departmental enquiry was proposed against nine officials of the Garden department. One official is on leave due to post-COVID recovery, and the civic body will take action after he resumes office and replies to the notice.
Bangar said that the gardens were not maintained from May to July. “Physical investigation was conducted for around two weeks and more than 360 locations were verified by the enquiry committee and it was found that gardens were not maintained during the said period. Based on the report, action has been taken against three officials of the Garden department,” said Bangar. He added that departmental enquiry has been proposed against nine garden assistants.
The two contractors from each zone have been asked to pay Rs 8.34 crores for not maintaining the garden. “They have been penalized as per the contract and their contract has also been terminated,” said Bangar.
While a section of civic staff raised question on the action taken by the municipal commissioner as DMC of the Garden department was also found guilty in the enquiry. Bangar said that the state government is the authority to take disciplinary action against DMC and the report has been sent to them.