“The dead are not at peace with the NMC’s shabby state of affairs.” This is how the BJP Corporator Balya alias Narendra Borkar described while exposing the “Wood Scam” being run at the NMC’s crematoriums in Nagpur.
“The relatives of dead are being provided wet and inferior quality of wood for the last rites at most of the NMC-run crematoriums. The contractors fill up the tenders with very high rates, just to bag contracts at the crematoriums. Once the contracts are bagged, the contractors “recover loss” of high rate tenders by providing wet, inferior wood to relatives of the dead and thus leaving them to struggle hard to lit the pyre,” the BJP Corporator charged.
ROLE OF HEALTH DEPARTMENT OFFICIALS:
The Corporator questioned the role of Health Department authorities as they are supposed to monitor the affairs at the crematoriums after the tenders are opened and contractors given the responsibility to provide wood and other material to relatives of the dead. NMC gives wood and other material free of cost to relatives for the last rites at NMC-run crematoriums. The Deputy Director of Health in NMC was issued a show cause notice in one of such instances, Borkar said.
“The NMC provides wood and other material free of cost. And for this, it invites tenders for purchasing wood from contractors. According to the terms and conditions of the tenders, the contractor has to supply high-quality wood like Dhawda, Garadi, Saja etc. But the contractor supplied wet and inferior wood Babhul, Subabhul, Orange, Adjat, Neem, and other inferior varieties. I had gone to Gangabai Crematorium recently to attend the last funeral of a close relative. The pyre took four hours to get lit, almost two tins of Dalda was used and dozens of litres of kerosene was poured on the pyre which finally was got lit. The wood supplied at the crematorium was checked with the help of local timber merchants and was found wet and inferior. Most disturbingly, not a single variety of wood mentioned in the tenders was supplied by the contractor. The NMC Commissioner Shyam Wardhane, Forest Department Officer Nandanwar and myself jointly inspected Gangabai Ghat. During inspection, not a single piece of mentioned wood was found. The rate of Rs 300-4000 was mentioned in the tenders but the wood at the crematorium was of Rs 1500-2000 rate thus adequately pointing out a scam in supplying wood to NMC-run crematoriums,” the BJP Corporator Balya Borkar asserted.
The NMC has given contract for supplying wood to Mahesh Agency, and according to Balya Borkar, the agency is owned by Corporator Parinay Fukey. The contract should immediately be cancelled as the wood is not being supplied in accordance with the terms and conditions of the tenders, the BJP Corporator has demanded.