In simple words, even if some contractors are not allotted the development work or any other work, they receive money from those contractors who get the works. In this way the chain continues. Whoever gets the work all contractors get their share of money. The most crucial part of the game is that a share of money has to be given to Contractors’ Association which plays the role of “middleman.”
Nagpur News: The contractors associated with Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) have, in a clever move, created a monstrous basket, of course not put all eggs, but to pour bounties. This way all the contractors have been grabbing lakhs and lakhs by a single stroke. Secondly, the contractors have buried their hatchets and, now, there is no rivalry among the contractors, no cut-throat competition or rat race to snatch any work contract from each other. The basket is created for the same purpose to collect the share money put into it by the working contractors.
Now, whichever contractor gets work contract, he has to share the bounty in 5-10 percent proportion with other contractors. In simple words, even if some contractors are not allotted the development work or any other work, they receive money from those contractors who get the works and pouring the share money in the basket. The most crucial part of the game is that a share of money has to be given to Contractors’ Association which plays the role of “middleman.”
According to a big contractor, who shares “profit” with other non-working contractors, the Contractors Association has mopped up Rs 20-22 lakh as its share. Many contractors are not aware of the Rs 20-22 lakh “share” of Association in whose hands or where the money is deposited. In reality, the Association is not recognized by any Government Department. The Association is running on money and muscle power. No outsider is allowed to receive any work contract of NMC. It means, apart from Association member-contractors, no other contractor gets the bountiful work orders. No contractor dares to ask the details of Association’s share. The contractors fear of losing their contracts if meddled with Association’s state of affairs. However, a question is a question. Who is having the large amount of Association’s share?
NMC spent Rs 35 crore on 7,000 works without tender process
Is a massive scam thriving and prospering in Nagpur Municipal Corporation? The NMC’s zone offices have reportedly executed over 7,000 works costing below Rs 50,000 each in a single year without any tender process. Questions are being raised about the actual benefit accrued from this Rs 35 crore public money, which is 10% of NMC’s development budget.
Where the work of interlocking tiles cost Rs 49,973, just Rs 27 less than Rs 50,000, beyond which a tender process is mandatory. Earlier, similar expenditure had come to fore from the Mayor’s fund during the tenure of Archana Dehankar.
Now, NMC has revealed that works, mostly at zone levels, worth around Rs 35 crore were executed without tender process since each work cost less than Rs 50,000. According to norms, works beyond Rs 50,000 require tendering process to maintain transparency and ensure judicious utilization of funds. The sheer number of works done using this loophole itself raises a question about the benefit of the works done.
NMC’s figures reveal that none of these works were emergency works, but even development works have been done by preparing proposals below Rs50,000. Also, in almost all cases the estimate is above Rs 49,000 but just below Rs50,000.
In many instances, a single work has been divided into parts to ensure that each costs less than Rs 50,000. Such deals had come in for severe criticism from the Nandlal Committee, which had probed scams in NMC in the late 1990s. Even the then municipal commissioner T Chandrashekar had ensured that all works go through a tendering process to control the funds.
Majority of the works in these Rs 35 crore expenditure were ward funds given to Corporators. Each of the 150 Cocorporators is given Rs 15 lakh for proposing emergency works in their wards. Besides, Rs 9 lakh per Corporator are allotted for emergency road works. Almost all works from these funds have been done with proposals below Rs 50,000.
Interestingly, none of these works comes for verification before the civic chief, top officials or the Standing Committee.
The total outgo of Rs 35 crore comes to over 10% of the total funds spent on development works. Such huge quantum of funds remaining unmonitored raises the need for detailed discussion and immediate action to stem corruption and losses.