As the entire nation continues to be on combat-mode to fight Covid-19, the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) has silently doled out a multi-crore work-order for nullah (drain) de-silting operations, which smacks of massive corruption. From Rs.1.5 crores in 2017, budgetary allocations have mysteriously shot up to Rs. 3 crore, this year. This despite a significant reduction in the scope of work, as a large number of open nullahs have been covered by the public works wing to avoid dumping and accumulation of silt.
The MBMC had invited tenders to award de-silting contracts for manual/ mechanical excavation of 155 major and minor nullahs which measure up to 240 km’s. This apart from provision of suction pumps to de-water chronic flooding spots on hourly basis. M/s M. B. Brothers, was shortlisted to provide manual labour and mechanical de-silting equipment’s including- JCBs, Poclain’s, Boat Poclain’s and Hydraulic Earth Excavator machines.
Instead of setting up accountability compulsions, the MBMC opted for clock-based pricing and shift wise contract, providing an opportunity of graft by generating inflated receipts and showing a higher head-count. “The tender process is transparent. 15, June has been set as deadline. While 40 % work is complete, each site is being monitored.” claimed deputy civic chief, Dr. Sambhaji Panpatte. “Under the shadow of the pandemic, officials got the tender cleared in a hurry. But we are keeping a watch on the de-silting work. Any type of negligence or illegality will not be tolerated. “said Congress corporator- Anil Sawant.
MBMC pitches for real-time video shooting of on-duty labour and in-action machines as a mandatory component to be submitted with the bills, but manipulations in the hourly hiring process is a regular affair, revealed an official. It has also been alleged that workers engaged in de-silting were not only deprived of minimum wages but were also forced to work wothout safety gear.