Three days after a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report slammed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for irregularities in road contracts causing a loss of Rs 703 crore, here’s another incident of taxpayers’ money going down the drain.
A proposal to distribute 831 flourmills under the Women and Child Welfare Scheme to women holding orange ration cards was passed in April 2012. These were to be distributed for the betterment of women and to help them earn money from home. A few flourmills have already been distributed.
While setting the budget for the project, the BMC had stated the price of one flourmill to be Rs 21,532, bringing the total budget to Rs 1,78,93,092. However, the market price of one flourmill is around Rs 16,000.
When calculated, the excess expenditure comes up to around Rs 40 lakh, which is a big amount to be wasted. On top of that, the price of a flourmill may drop further if purchased in bulk. “Whenever anyone buys something where the order is over a 100 pieces, we always reduce the price,” said a shopkeeper in Dadar who sells flourmills. “As of now, the price is Rs 16,000. But if the order is in bulk, even that price is reduced.”
The Opposition leaders were more than happy to comment on the lapse. They claimed that the civic ruling party should have gotten their market figures right and should keep reduction of cost in consideration, not the other way round. “The BMC should take serious action on this,” said Sandeep Deshpande, an MNS Corporator. “There should be an enquiry if the things have been purchased at a higher cost than the market value. All the items that have been bought earlier also should be checked again,” he added.
But the chairman of Women and Child welfare department, Falguni Dave, said, “The proposal was sent to the vigilance department after a proper market survey,” she said.
In another such incident, MiD DAY had reported in September about the CAG’s rap to the civic body for purchasing stationery and other items for 9,840 students while only 2,889 had taken admission. The articles, bought for much more than the market price, led to additional spendings to the tune of Rs 70 lakh.
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