3 officials of NMC’s Workshop Deptt suspended for procuring auto spare parts at ‘high’ cost

Nagpur: Three officials of NMC’s Workshop Department were on Friday suspended on the charges of procuring automobile spare parts over and above the market cost. The action was announced the General Body Meeting (GBM) of the civic body held at Town Hall, Mahal, on Friday.

Senior Congress Corporator Sandeep Sahare raised the issue during the Question Hour. Taking the matter seriously, the Deputy Mayor Deepraj Pardikar, who chaired the GBM in the absence of Mayor Nanda Jichkar who is on official tour to Vietnam, directed the administration to suspend the three concerned officials immediately. The ruling party leader Sandeep Joshi, mentioning the names of the officials, had also demanded action against them. Joshi mentioned the names of Assistant Commissioner Vijay Humne who is head of Workshop Department, Mechanical Engineer of Workshop Department Rajesh Gurmule and one other official named Lanjewar. However, the Acting Mayor Pardikar in his directive to the administration said that those officials responsible for the irregularities should be suspended. He did not mention the names.

The Congress Corporator Sahare had alleged that the NMC’s Workshop Department is procuring automobile spare parts and other material at seven times the market cost. Suspecting irregularities, he has demanded suspension of Head of the Workshop Department and Mechanical Engineer. The Assistant Commissioner Vijay Humne was found fumbling while replying to the allegations of Sahare.

BJP Corporator Satish Holay too alleged that not a single vehicle is repaired in the workshop. Almost all the vehicles are being repaired at other outside places. The Ruling Party Leader Sandeep Joshi demanded Commissioner-level enquiry against the suspended officials within 15 days. The probe report should be tabled in the next GBM, he said.

Quoting the information he obtained under Right to Information (RTI) Act, Sahare had alleged that NMC had procured tyres that were available for Rs 14,800/- per piece in market, were purchased for Rs 35,950/- each. Similarly, other items including battery, engine oil filter, diesel filter, side-window glass etc were procured at a price higher than that in the market. A radial tyre costs Rs 18,400/- per piece, but it was procured for Rs 85,456/- each. The battery of 12 Watt was procured at Rs 18,500/- per piece as against market price of Rs 5,390/-, he alleged. “There are many such spares and items that have been procured at a price that is three to seven times more than that in the market. This indicates massive corruption and financial irregularities in procurement,” alleged Sahare.

Issue of inflated tax demands to be raised in presence of Mpl Commissioner:

The Property Tax Department of NMC, since the past few days, is issuing inflated tax demands to property owners sparking intense dissention among the tax payers. Enraged by the harassment of citizens, senior Corporator Abha Pande had demanded cancellation of contract of M/s Cybertech Systems and Software Ltd and revaluation of properties in NMC limits. She has warned of an intense agitation if her demand is not met.

According to the Corpotator, after the revaluation by the private firm, NMC issued fresh demand notices and distributed among property holders. The demand mentioned the increased tax manifold. The slum dwellers in Prabhag-21 have been slapped with tax demands of Rs 18,000 to Rs 31,000 as against the previous demands in the range of Rs 800 to Rs 1,000, Pande claimed. She raised this issue with the officers of Property Tax Department of the civic body on Wednesday but the cold response by the Head of the Department left her red-faced.

The senior Corporator visited the areas with the delegates of M/s Cybertech and ensured re-calculation of the property tax of concerned owners. Recalculation of property tax of three slum dwellers revealed that the tax calculations were wrong. The parameters to calculate property tax were wrongly mentioned in their tax details, Pande claimed.

Senior Congress Corporator Praful Gudadhe Patil Gudadhe said that the inflated property tax demand notices were ‘illegal’. NMC has issued notices on the basis of old constitution of wards. It is binding on the civic body to issue notice under Rule 15 (2) and give 21 days to the receiver to file objections, if any. However, NMC’s actions are not in tune with the rule and blatant violation of Municipal Corporations Act. Hence, these demand notes should be scrapped, he demanded.

Earlier, before commencement of the GBM, the BJP Corporator Dayashankar Tiwari and Congress Corporator Praful Gudadhe Patil moved adjournment motion of the inflated tax demands issue. The NMC Secretary Harish Dubey read out the motions one by one. Later, the Mayor ruled that a special meeting be called and the issue discussed in the presence of Municipal Commissioner Ashwin Mudgal who was not present in today’s meeting as he is on leave. After the Mayor’s directive, the Opposition members demanded immediate withholding of demand notices that are being currently distributed to property holders. However, the Mayor sidestepped the issue and started further proceedings. This led to uproar by BSP members who rushed to the chair and gheraoed the Mayor. Amidst the din, the Mayor accorded approval to all the issues on the agenda on the basis of majority except the subject No. 118 listed in today’s agenda.