[Janata Dal (Secular) activists on fast-unto-death since Monday December 14, 2015 agianst rampant corruption in Malegaon Municipal Coroporation (Photo: ummid.com)]
Malegaon: Alleging that Water Grace Private Limited is involved in large scale corruption with the help of a bunch of Municipal Corporators in Malegaon, Janata Dal (Secular) leaders on Tuesday reiterated their demand to cancel the agreement, impose penalty and recover the public money ‘illegally’ billed to the contractor responsible for collecting and dumping the city waste.
“Water Grace and Municipal Corporators belonging to the ruling Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Teesra Mahaz and the Congress are prowling the public money, little caring about the worsening sanitation situation in the city”, Mustaqeem Dignity, General Secretary of Janata Dal (S) who is sitting on fast-unto-death with nine others since Monday against the rampant corruption in the Malegaon Municipal Corporation (MMC) said while talking to ummid.com.
“Water Grace and its crony Municipal Corporators are getting richer and richer while the city is becoming filthier and dirtier with every passing day”, he added.
He alleged that ever since Water Grace Private Ltd has taken over the task in its hands, clogged sewerages, bio and other wastes piling up everywhere, garbage strewn in heaps, staggered dirty water and a typical stench surrounding major part of the city, have become a norm.
“There are clear indications that the contractor is not at all doing the assigned job properly and on the expected lines. Yet, its bills are being cleared by the Municipal account department. This is done because of the ‘backing’ and ‘support’ of the powerful corporators extended to Water Grace company”, he alleged.
As per Malegaon Municipal Corporation record, Water Grace was given a contract to dump waste and garbage for ten years from November 08, 2013 @Rs.729/metric tonne. As per the contract, it should deploy 40 tractors and 40 Ghanta-gadis for the total of 80 wards. Records also showed that even after two years in the contract, the company is using just 24-27 tractors and as many ghanta-gadis.
About three months ago Municipal Commissioner Latish Deshmukh issued the contractor warnings to fulfill the conditions – one after the other about 16 notices and warnings sent with brief intervals. When the contractor failed even after these warnings, as per the terms mentioned in the contract, the commissioner took action and imposed penalty in August 2015. The commissioner also issued orders to the account department to deduct the penalty amount at the time of releasing the payment to Water Grace.
Commissioner Latish Deshmukh retired from his post in the same month and after his departure from the office, the account department is releasing payments to Water Grace without following his order. When contacted Deputy Commissioner and Chief Accountant Qamruddin Shaikh said the penalty amount could not be deducted because of some ‘technical’ reasons.
“The penalty has been imposed on Water Grace as per the terms of the contract. But, it could not be deducted because of some ‘technical’ reasons. We will deduct the amount from next month onwards”, he said while talking to ummid.com.
He however could not explain much about the ‘technical’ reasons despite repeated pleas.
In reply to another question, he said the civic body is paying a huge 55 to 60 lakh rupees every month to Water Grace.
“Such a huge amount of public money is going to Water Grace every month. However, the company neither fulfills conditions nor does it complete the assigned work as per the contract. There should be a thorough probe to investigate who is behind the leniency accorded to the company”, Mustaqeem said.
He said the probe is necessary because sanitation and cleanliness in the city is at its worst level.
“Amid talks of Swacha Bharat and Swacha Maharashtra everywhere, Malegaon is becoming filthier with every passing day. The civic body instead of taking action against the responsible agency, showering him with public money”, Mustaqeem Dignity said.
Meanwhile, concerns raised from different quarters over the worsening situation vis-à-vis sanitation in the city have also left the revenue department worried. Wondering over the civic body’s failure to control the situation, Additional District Collector Swamy and SDM Ajay More on Monday called on Municipal Commissioner Kishore Borde, and urged him to take the necessary action to control the situation.
“Sanitation in the city has really been a cause of concern. The Malegaon civic body is not able to work to people’s expectation. Hence the revenue department has decided to extend its support”, SDM Ajay More said while talking to ummid.com.