‘Crooks’ in NMC pay Rs 30 crore in excess to Kanak

Kanak Resource Management

Representational Pic

Nagpur: At a time while the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) is found gasping for cash to run its affairs smoothly, some ‘crooks’ in Health and Accounts Departments, in connivance with each other, made excess payment of Rs 30 crore to Kanak Resources Management Limited (KRML), entrusted the job of collecting garbage from house-to-house.

The former Chief Accounts and Finance Officer (CA&FO) Madan Gadge has been found blindly clearing the bills sanctioned and forwarded to him by Health Department babus. Now, he has been slapped with a show cause notice by the NMC Administration that has also initiated a process to recover the staggering sum. This Rs 30 crore “pilferage” was exposed in a confidential report submitted by Municipal Commissioner Ashwini Mudgal to Standing Committee recently.

According to the confidential report, the KRML received Rs 184.60 crore from the NMC as against actual dues of Rs 154.90 crore till March 2017. Thus the cash-starved civic body paid an excess amount of Rs 30.22 crore to the private firm. Notably, the Standing Committee, in its meeting held on May 15, 2017, had appointed a committee headed by Municipal Commissioner to probe the issue in detail. According to sources, the Commissioner studied the Request for Proposal (RFP), agreement with the KRML, directions of then Municipal Commissioners, and other reports in detail.

It is pertinent to recall that the KRML had issued a letter to NMC threatening to withdraw from collection of garbage agreement in view of hike in salaries of contractual workers. The company had demanded Rs 1,606 per tonne for collecting garbage from the houses for April, May and June 2016. However, the NMC had paid Rs 1,033 per tonne for January to March 2016. The hike of Rs 573 per tonne was demanded by KRML to meet the salary of the workers as per the decision of Maharashtra Government. The sudden rise in the garbage collection charges raised the eyebrows of the civic administration and Commissioner had appointed three members committee headed by Deputy Commissioner Jayant Dandegaonkar to find out actual reason for increase in the rates. Thecommittee in its report found gross violation of the terms and conditions and huge misappropriation in the payment. On the basis of the report of Dandegaonkar Committee, the Standing Committee had suspended then Health Officer Dr. Milind Ganvir.

The NMC had signed an agreement with KRML on December 24, 2007 to lift garbage at Rs 449 per tonne in the city. The civic body also agreed to review wholesale price index (WPI) at every quarter to incorporate the changes in commodity rates in the rates payable to contractor. As per tender condition, the rates were to be reviewed every year but in the agreement, the word quarterly in place of year was mentioned by the Department. The committee found that the company did not prepare the bills according to the WPI on base rate and there was gross violation in preparation of bills. According to the proposal of Health Department, the rate for April, May and June -2016 was Rs 764 per tonne but KRML refused to work even at Rs 1,033 per tonne. Commissioner stated that the Health Department does not have any accounts officer, still Accounts Department did not audit the bills of the KRML properly. The CAFO was also responsible for these gross lapses and therefore, a show cause notice should be issued to him, the confidential report mentioned. Commissioner recommended for stern action against the officers, who were involved in signing the bills of the KRML (working under IL&FS). Mudgal has also suggested to appoint a new agency to collect house to house garbage.