Mumbai: BMC spent Rs 97 lakh on municipal commissioner's bungalow in 5 years

An RTI query reveals that the BMC has an annual budget of Rs 50 lakh for the maintenance of the municipal commissioner's bungalow situated on Carmichael Road

The BMC has spent over Rs 97 lakh on the maintenance of the bungalow of the municipal commissioner (MC) in the past five years. The highest expenditure was in the year 2012. It has now come to light, that the civic body has an annual budget of Rs 50 lakh for the upkeep of the tony bungalow, on Carmichael Road.

The municipal commissioner’s bungalow at Carmichael Road. Pic/Bipin Kokate
The municipal commissioner’s bungalow at Carmichael Road. Pic/Bipin Kokate

The BMC is headed by a municipal commissioner who is usually an IAS officer appointed by the state government. Besides, there are four additional municipal commissioners (AMC) who look after the day-to-day affairs of the civic body. All five IAS officers are allotted bungalows by the civic body. It is a common practice among the bureaucracy, to refurbish their residences as soon as they take charge. However, it appears some of the municipal commissioners have gone way too far.

According to information procured by activist Jeetendra Ghadge under RTI, the BMC has a budget of Rs 50 lakh specifically for the repairs of the MC’s bungalow every year. Since 2011, the civic body has spent a total of around Rs 97,31,245 simply on the maintenance and renovation of this bungalow. Ghadge had also asked for details of the bungalows of the AMCs but the information was not furnished.

The highest amount, Rs 39.29 lakh, was spent in 2012, when Subodh Kumar was reigning until May before handing over the charge to Sitaram Kunte. Current MC Ajoy Mehta comes second in spending the amount after taking charge. The expenditure on the bungalow during 2015, when Mehta took charge from Kunte in May, is Rs 29.54 lakh.

According to documents procured under RTI, the civic body spent this amount on internal painting, external painting and general civil repair works in 2015.

The works done in 2015 include removing certain tiles, putting a fibre glass roof sheet, thick acrylic sheets on window panels, apart from painting jobs.

When contacted, Ajoy Mehta declined to speak on the issue.

Other cash-rich jobs
Ghadge had also demanded the annual maintenance of these bungalows apart from renovation works. According to the reply received under RTI from the executive engineer (maintenance) of the BMC’s Metre Workshop, Rs 6.66 lakh has been spent on just the routine maintenance of these bungalows between January 2010 and July 2015.

Whats more, Rs 2.43 lakh were spent in 2013 for the repairs of a toilet block at the Hydraulic Engineer’s bungalow occupied by the then additional municipal commissioner in 2013.

According to a query sent to the BMC’s mechanical and electrical department, the department has spent Rs 6.39 lakh on the air conditioning of the MC’s bungalow as well as those of the AMC (city) and (projects) between January 2010 and July 2015. Of this, Rs 3.82 lakh was spent on the MC’s bungalow alone.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg. There is similar expenditure on the renovation of other bungalows but I did not get access to that information. It is unfortunate that while the ordinary tax-paying Mumbaikar is dying due to potholes on roads, risking life living in dilapidated buildings, and battling erratic water supply, these officials live like royals,” Ghadge told mid-day. He has demanded an enquiry into the matter.

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