Monthly Meeting

We meet every 3rd Sunday from 11 AM to 1.30 PM at Upper Ashankur Hall , Holy Family Church , Andheri East.
Meet us there to join us!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Glaring irregularities in Marol structure

Claim AGNI activists who allege there seems to be
a discrepancy in the amount spent

An enthusiastic corporator’s ambitious efforts to showcase his work might just prove to be the BMC’s undoing. Last year, the then corporator Tukaram Nikam built a Samajik Sabhagruh in Chimat Pada, Marol. However, AGNI activist Ravi Nair, in his RTI queries, has found that the BMC’s work order had glaring irregularities. Says Nair, “I had always debated the use of such structures for the general public. Then, when I saw a similar one coming up in my locality, I thought I would get into the details to find out the reasons for the existence of this structure.” On filing queries under the Right to Information Act 2005, Nair found that the BMC had, “gravely miscalculated the estimate of the work order.” Says Nair, “The estimated total, which should have ideally come to around 1.40 lakhs was totalled to be Rs 58,000. How can any error have such a large margin?” Responds S Khatwani, assistant engineer (maintenance), K East, “We agree that such a mistake happened. We had also rectified it. So, what’s the point of raising this issue,
which had been sorted, again?” Nair is unforgiving and says, “I surely can smell something fishy here. Otherwise, how can anyone explain the fact that the BMC’s calculations for 14 items was supposed to be 58,000, but out of those 14, as the budget head acquired by me through RTI shows, work has been carried out only on eight items. Still, the amount for those six incomplete items hasn’t been deducted and the amount paid is the same.” Khatwani, responding to Nair’s allegations, says, “It’s not true that work
hasn’t been done on six items.” When showed copies of the work order estimate and the budget head and the clear disparity between the work items in the estimate and the budget head (prepared after the completion of work). Khatwani said, “This is incorrect. Work has been completed on all counts. Otherwise, how will the structure stand if work is incomplete?” he says. However, the miscalculations weren’t where it ended, says Nair. “Even if we forgive them for the mistake, how can it be explained that there are three signatures- that of the junior engineer (JE), sub engineer (SE) and the AE himself?” Also, goes on Nair. “What is the use of building four pillars and a roof, with not even four walls? Are they trying to protect us from rain?” However, Khatwani defends the structure and says, “A Samajik Sabhagruh is meant to be that. Since the majority population can’t afford a community meeting place, we have provided them that.” RB Dhakne, assistant municipal commissioner, K-East Ward was constantly contacted for his comments on
the matter. However, he refused comment citing his busy schedule. Finally, when DNA Westcoast finally spoke to him after trying to get in touch for three days, he heard us out and said that he wasn’t aware of this issue.”

The discrepancy
In response to Nair’s RTI, a copy of which is with DNA Westcoast, the BMC said that this structure was constructed under Section 50 TT Act of the MMC Act. However, James John,
AGNI member differs with the BMC on this contention. Says John, “This section plainly says that the ward committee can only grant only the financial and administrative sanction. So, how are the technical sanctions granted to such structures?” Adds Nair, “If tomorrow, this structure falls, then who is to be held responsible?”

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