Sena legislator, Pratap Sarnaik has sought a detailed probe into the anomalies and corruption in the multi-crore work-order, doled out by the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) to a private agency for pre-monsoon nullah (drain) de-silting operations in the twin-city. The Free Press Journal had highlighted the massive irregularities in the tender awarding process (MBMC’s Clock-based Pricing Smacks of Corruption) on May 23, 2020.
In his letter to the civic chief, Sarnaik has stated that the highly inflated rates of both - the manpower and equipment provision, coupled by lack of accountability compulsions, indeed smacks of corruption. Punching holes in the summary inked by the governance while awarding the tender, Sarnaik said, “On one hand it indicates utilizing existing ward cleaning staffers for de-silting after duty hours and on the other a nod has been given to hire manpower at Rs. 1182 per worker per day, which exceeds minimum wages act by Rs. 341. It’s an unholy nexus between the contractor, standing panel members and officials to mint money by corrupt ways. I will seek an ACB probe.” said Sarnaik.
The MBMC has shortlisted an agency to provide manual labour and mechanical equipment’s to de-silt of 155 major and minor nullahs. However, clock-based pricing and shift wise system has been opted to provide ample scope for manipulations in the billing system.
“The prices were hiked even as the workload was reduced. Most of the drains are already covered. As per rules duty time should not exceed 9 hours. Workers engaged in de-silting were also forced to work without safety gear,” revealed an officer. It has been alleged that contractor not only shares a cordial relation with a senior civic officer, but also enjoys the support of ruling party leaders.