Does NMC fend for corrupt contractor, making registration hell for others?

Nagpur: The thread of corruption appears to be far from being broken in Nagpur Municipal Corporation, as the civic officials have deliberately kept digitally advanced transparent systems at bay and sticking to manual process to have their ‘way’! Sources alleged that using their innate and acquired skills, many officials are practically ruling the roost in many departments of NMC. However, this practice has seriously brought down the productivity and quality of output. Nonetheless, sources added, entire gamut is firmly placed to stick to corrupt means.

The contractual system in Nagpur Municipal Corporation has been proving to be the breeding grounds for corrupt practices, as insiders broke open the entire scheme of things undertaken to get any NMC contractor registered or renewed.

Reliable sources revealed that any contractor willing to get registered with NMC for work assignments, he has to directly deal with executive engineers instead of keeping in touch with the city engineer. The change of procedure is allegedly done to fan the ‘returns’ without which Executive Engineer would not budge. It is revealed that the bribe taken is at par with the contractor’s work limit (work worth in rupees).

On April 4, 2016, so-called president of Contractor’s Association Vijay Naidu and the official looking after the RTI functioning of Public Works Department NMC had kept a lot of documents on the table and were deep in discussion in the cabin of Deputy Engineer D D Jambulkar at around 5 pm, informed sources.

When their presence in the cabin of Deputy Engineer D D Jambulkar was probed, it came to the fore that someone had filed an RTI demanding the registration documents of Vijay Naidu and another contractor of NMC.

Earlier, the Public Work Department had sent the RTI request application to the Hot Mix Department of NMC. The Hot Mix Department of NMC promptly sent back the request saying that this query is not related to their department.

When the information was given to the PWD Executive Engineer, he accepted that this is not his fault, but was accidentally sent to the Hot-Mix department by his subordinate said D D Jambhulkar.

It was after a long time that the request of RTI Activist Lal Singh Thakur was honoured and a demand of Rs 648 for the RTI documents was sent to him. When RTI Activist Lal Singh Thakur paid the fees and reached the NMC’s Public Works Department, and asked for the documents, he received a reply that he would get the documents in two day’s time, however, the documents were not received till April 4, 2016.

Immediately after Thakur paid the fees for the documents under RTI, an attempt to safe-guard the interest of Vijay Naidu and another contractor, serious discussions were on in the cabin of Executive Engineer D D Jambulkar right from 5:30 pm. After this the officials of PWD Department and Vijay Naidu were seen setting documents and papers in such a manner (that safeguard his interest) that none of his hanky-panky or misdeeds come to fore. One query that comes to fore is that are NMC Officials safeguarding corrupt contractors or are they in nexus to ensure that corruption continues. These kinds of corrupt practices will certainly ensure that we never become a smart city.

Fear of President of Contractor’s Association

The NMC Department seems to be terrified of President of Contractor’s Association that they are making the sets of documents and papers with the President of Contractor’s Association present so that no unwanted or incriminating document reaches the RTI activists. This just proves some financial dealings between the official and the contractors.

Auction system still exists in NMC

According to some sources very close to Naidu and Potpuse many office-bearers, officials and Corporators are involved in this business and even till date, putting the directive of e-governance at stake are involved in auction system to distribute tenders. This is one reason that many office-bearers and corporators are indirectly involved in this shady business. Many office-bearers and corporators are also allegedly financers of these contracts. When such conditions exist, how can we even dream of coming in the first five of Smart Cities?

By Rajeev Ranjan Kushwaha