The Swatchhata Corporation, the topic of hot discussion in the NMC and also the focal point of probe for two high-level civic body committees for “sweeping and cleaning”, not the roads but NMC coffers, is likely to get a boot for cheating and robbing the NMC. “The Swatchhata Corporation is going to be dumped in the dustbin soon,” sources in the civic body said and added the kick out is after Diwali festivities.
The Swatchhata Corporation, given contract for sweeping and cleaning Nagpur roads with hi-tech machineries, gobbled up lakhs of rupees of the NMC by bogus claims that Kamptee Road was swept and cleaned by its sophisticated Elgin machine. The claim was made by the Swatchhata Corporation amidst 185 mm of rains the city received in the past few months. And the Swatchhata was also paid lakhs of rupees, of course, with the connivance of NMC’s Health Department officials. The Kamptee Road was not at all swept and cleaned by the hi-tech Elgin machine. On the contrary, NMC coffers were “swept and cleaned” by the bogus claims, sources said. However, the dubious deal got public and saw NMC Administration probing the “deal” by two high-level committees. And based on their reports, the NMC has decided to get rid of Swatchhata (Cleanliness).
“WINDFALL” FOR CONTRACTOR:
According to reports, Nagpur was battered by heavy to very heavy rains in the month of July. And the Swatchhata Corporation, too, received a “windfall” in the form of clearing of bills to the tune of lakhs of rupees by NMC. 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. However, even after the “bogus” deals came in the open, the NMC Administration maintained a radio silence over the matter for almost two months. But when the pressure mounted, the Swatchhata Corporation was slapped with a notice by the NMC Administration in this connection.
The Swatchhata Corporation was given contract to sweep and clean 100 km of city roads per day. However, the contractor, taking advantage of the monsoon, claimed even sweeping and cleaning of roads during heavy rains, too. And the concerned authorities, without carrying out proper checking of the claims of the contractor, even cleared the way for payment of bills for “sweeping and cleaning” the roads. The bills were paid in the best possible haste thus ensuring “sweeping and cleaning” of NMC coffers and not the roads. However, the ground reality got exposed and the matter became public. The NMC Commissioner appointed two committees to probe the “bogus” deals, one headed by Additional Municipal Commissioner Hemant Pawar and the other, headed by Deputy Commissioner Sanjay Kakde. Both committees personally checked the roads claimed to be swept and cleaned by the Swatchhata Corporation.
The contractor, Swatchhata Corporation, submitted claims of sweeping and cleaning roads on paper even during the months of June, July, August amidst rain fury. However, the claims turned bogus when a massive difference was noticed between the fuel used and mileage record. The aspect of the great difference has been mentioned in the probe reports of the two committees. But 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, 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. Now, the sights have been focused on the timing of the cancellation of the contract. The contractor may see the boot most probably after the Diwali festivities.
The Health Department will also feel the heat of bogus sweeping and cleaning of roads, sources said.