Rs. 300 crore – that is the approximate amount spent on just footpath repair in the last 15 years ! Its’ a shocking revelation that speaks how the unholy corporator-contractor-official nexus in NMMC is looting the tax payers’ money. And the scams continue. With the last two standing committee meetings itself, footpath repair worth crores of rupees have been approved yet again. When NMTV visited the wards where the work will be done, 90% of the footpaths were in perfect condition yet NMMC is going to spend crores of rupees in the name of repairing them. We spoke to activists and experts who all say that footpath scam is one of the biggest areas of corruption in NMMC. All this and more with NMTV exclusive weekend expose.
In the standing committee meeting of april 29, 2011, two controversial and shady of footpath repair were approved by the members.the standing committee approved the proposal for repairing footpaths in sector 1 to 8, 17 and 30a for a sum of rs. 42 lacs 90 thousand 262 to classic construction. The contractor has been awarded the footpath repair work for sectors 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 17 and 30a of Vashi. It may be noted that this work includes footpath repair in sector 17, Vashi.
The same day the standing committee approved another controversial proposal of footpath repair, again for sector 17, Vashi. The work being repairing footpath from navratna hotel to abc corporation and has been awarded to ajwani infrastructure. And you’ll be shocked to hear that this work for sector 17, Vashi has been awarded for a whopping for rs. 37 lacs 28 thousand 336. Despite the repetition of sector 17, Vashi no member questioned the administration about the same. Both the proposals were approved without a single word of debate or discussion.
Then in the standing committee meeting of may 19, 2911, another controversial proposal was approved again for repair of footpath work. This time it was an administrative approval to invite tenders for repairing the footpaths from abhudaya bank in sector 17 to Vashi plaza for a estimated budget of rs. 24 lacs 99 thousand 923. Once again members approved the proposal without questioning why a proposal for footpath repair work in sector 17, Vashi was being brought for the third time within a month.
The blatant wastage of public funds in the name of footpath repair continued in the meeting of may 12 also when the members approved the footpath repair in sector 8, Vashi from veer sawarkar chowk to pond in the sector. The contract has been awarded to M/s Venkateshwara Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. For a whopping rs. 61 lacs 71 thousand 238.
In the same meeting, the very next proposal was again for footpath repair again in the same sector no. 8 from sagar vihar to pond and creek area. The work has been awarded to m/s akshata enterprises for rs. 34 lacs 93 thousand 338. Again no member asked the administration why they brought these two proposals for sector 8, Vashi when a rs. 43 lacs proposal for sector 8 Vashi was already approved in meeting of april 29, 2011. This means that within three standing committee meetings – footpath repair work for over rs. 3 crores was approved for sectors 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 17 and 30a of Vashi. NMTV team then visited each and every sector where footpath work is going to be carried out and found out that 99% of footpaths in these sectors are in perfect condition requiring no repair work at all or at very few places minor repair work. Take a look at the condition of the footpaths in these sectors and what the tax payers of these wards have to say :
Now take a look at the footpaths in sector 17, Vashi where NMMC is going to spend rs. 1 crore of your taxes in repairing footpaths that are already in perfect condition. Again in sector 30a, Vashi too the footpaths are in walkable condition, yet it is going to be repaired. The million dollar question is, when majority of the footpaths in these sectors are in good condition, then why is NMMC spending rs. 3 crores of public taxes on them? According to NMMC standing committee chairman ramesh shinde, the local corporators are the ones who suggest what repair work is needed in their area and then NMMC engineers then visit the site and draft the proposal. So according to ramesh shinde, all the controversial proposals of footpaths are being taken up in the wards as the local corporators have demanded the same. So who are the local corporators of these sectors?
-The corporators of sectors 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 Vashi are NCP’s Dy. Mayor Bharat Nakhate, NCP’s leader of the house vithal more and NCP’s Vaibhav Gaikwad.
-The corporator of sector 17, Vashi where rs. 1 crore will be spent is NCP’s Sampat Shiwale
-(and) the corporator of sector 30a Vashi is senior congress corporator Dashrath Bhagat.
So either these senior corporators demanded footpath repair work in their ward when it is not needed or are they ignorant that crores of public taxes are going to be wasted in their wards in the name of footpath repair? According to senior journalist vikas mahadik, it is all about corruption. He says the when corporators get 10 to 15 % commission earn in each contract just sitting at home, who cares about quality.
Social activist sandeep thakur questions the logic behind footpath proposals and says that how is it that every time the entire stretch of footpath needs repair? Citing the example of sector 17, Vashi he says that most of the area, the shopkeepers have put tiles and footpaths too are in good conditions. The three controversial proposals are just a tip of the ice berg in the footpath scam of NMMC. Not many know that in the last 15 years, Rs. 300 crores has been spent only on footpath repair. Vikas mahadik says that repeating the same proposals is also a common practice. Vikas mahadik says it is a footpath scam is a racket going on in 15 years.
Ironically no member of the standing committee denied the footpath scam outright. Former chairman Anant Sutar said that inspecting this is the work of the new chairman ramesh shinde. On the other hand, shivram patil says that there is a scam in it. He also accepted on camera that often same paver blocks are replaced.
Cidco made Navi Mumbai and handed it over to NMMC only for maintenance. Call it a world record that NMMC has spent rs. 15000 crores of public taxes in 15 years in the name of maintenance with rs. 300 crores spent only in the footpath scam. That’s why most corporators have amassed unaccounted wealth and from being mere public servants they have attained the status of public bosses, looting your taxes in the name of year long contracts. With bureau inputs, Sana Warsia for NMTV News.