Published On : Fri, Jan 10th, 2014

Curious turn: NMC’s sweeping & cleaning of roads scam goes under Sadar police scanner

The police complaint was filed by Jammu Anand, the Convener of Employees’ Union for Joint Action Committee of Unorganized and Temporary Workers for registering of criminal offences against the then NMC Commissioner Sanjay Jaiswal and former Standing Committee Chairman Sandeep Joshi in connection with the scam.

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Nagpur News: The hotly debated sweeping and cleaning of roads scam, infamously called “Jhadu machine ghotala” in NMC circle, took a very curious and offensive turn when a complaint was lodged with Sadar Police Station for registering of criminal offences against the then NMC Commissioner Sanjay Jaiswal and former Standing Committee Chairman Sandeep Joshi in connection with the scam.

The police complaint was filed by Anand Narayanrao Jammu, fondly called Jammu Anand in various circles, the Convener of Employees’ Union for Joint Action Committee of Unorganized and Temporary Workers. In the complaint, Jammu Anand said the sweeping and cleaning of roads scam got exposed when media published reports of massive irregularities indulged in by the Bengaluru-based Swatchhata Corporation, the contractor given responsibility of cleaning and sweeping of roads, in connivance of NMC’s Health Department officials. The contractor was even submitting bills for cleaning and sweeping of roads in the Monsoon when the city was being battered by excessive rains, the complaint said.

Jammu Anand further said that when the Joint Action Committee went into details it came to notice that the NMC’s Standing Committee, on September 3, 2011, passed a proposal whereby it was decided to award contract to “Swachhata Corporation” for sweeping and cleaning of 100 kilometre of the roadsevery day by a hi-tech machine at the rate of Rs 386 per kilometer and the NMC will increase the rate by 8 per cent per year. The NMC had also agreed to pay Rs 7.50 crore to the firm in five years. However, the NMC itself could have purchased the modern machine at the cost of Rs 76 lakh instead of awarding contract and paying Rs 7.50 crore to the firm “Swachhata Corporation.”

The Standing Committee at that time proposed that instead of purchasing the machine and running of the same by the “Swachhata Corporation” would be a costly proposition. Instead, the firm should be given contract for sweeping and cleaning of 100 kilometre of roads every day at the rate of Rs 386 per kilometer. It would be in the interest of NMC, the Standing Committee had said.

However, Jammu Anand found the holes in the theory of Standing Committee. “Had the NMC purchased the sweeper machine and spent Rs 50,000 including the salary of the driver at Rs 20,000 and other Rs 30,000 for diesel and maintenance per month. The annual expenses would have been at Rs 6 lakh. It means, Rs 30-35 lakh expense for five years. The total of expenditure, including the cost of the sweeper machine, would have been between Rs 1-1.25 crore annually. A net saving of Rs 6.25 crore. Moreover, the NMC would have been the owner of the machine. It is sheer a big scam. Money changed many hands. Huge corruption took place,” Jammu Anand claimed.

“The NMC Commissioner sanctions the list of proposals of the Standing Committee. During 2010-2011, Sanjay Jaiswal was the NMC Commissioner. Many times, the Standing Committee stays or even rejects Commissioner’s proposals. Now, the question is, how the Commissioner Sanjay Jaiswal forwarded the proposal on sweeping and cleaning machine in the September 3, 2011 meeting and why the Standing Committee passed the proposal,” Jammu Anand said in the police complaint.

“The entire episode is a big scam. People’s money was used to commit frauds in the interest of the contractor, and subsequently, in the interest of the then NMC Commissioner Sanjay Jaiswal and former Standing Committee Chairman Sandeep Joshi. Therefore, the police should register criminal offences against both and initiate detailed investigation into the matter,” the complaint said.

It may be recalled, the Swatchhata Corporation gobbled up lakhs of rupees of the NMC by bogus claims that roads were swept and cleaned by its sophisticated Elgin machine. The claim was made by the Swatchhata Corporation amidst heavy to very heavy rains the city received in June, July and August. And the Swatchhata was also paid lakhs of rupees without inspection by the NMC’s Health Department officials. However, the dubious deal got public and saw NMC Administration probing the “deal” by two high-level committees set up by NMC Commissioner Wardhane. The committees found that the roads were not at all cleaned and swept by the contractor as claimed by the contractor. The committee carried out surprise inspections of roads but found no hi-tech machineries that were supposed to clean and sweep the roads. A massive difference was noticed between the fuel used and mileage record. The aspect of the great difference and other nasty facts were mentioned in the probe reports of the two committees.

The contractor had submitted bogus bills of sweeping and cleaning city roads, of course, with the connivance of NMC’s own Health Department officials, sources said. The bills were paid in the best possible haste thus ensuring “sweeping and cleaning” of NMC coffers and not the roads. The contractor was paid claim amounts on the four occasions including Rs 6.94 lakh, Rs 11.96 lakh twice and Rs 7.72 lakh. The NMC issued notice to the contractor in this “bogus” deal. The Swatchhata Corporation was slapped with a notice by the NMC Administration in this connection. The Swatchhata Corporation, in its reply to notice, accepted the fact of bogus dealing on its part. However, lakhs of rupees have already been gobbled up by the contractor and thus putting the NMC at loss in lakhs. The NMC Commissioner Shyam Wardhane had ordered the Departmental Enquiry against the high-profile Deputy Director of Health Dr Milind Ganvir, Health Officer Dr Urkude, and two other officials for their alleged role in the scam.