Book BMC, civic officials for culpable homicide: Kiran Pawaskar

Launching a scathing attack on Shiv Sena-BJP ruled Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), NCP leader Kiran Pawaskar on Monday demanded that the civic body be booked for "culpable homicide" in connection with the recent fires at the Deonar dumping ground.

He also demanded that government order probe into all garbage dumping contracts awarded in last 15 years by the BMC. Initiating a debate on a motion (moved by the Opposition) in the State Legislative Council on Deonar dumping ground, Pawaskar said, "while BMC shows that daily 9,000-10,000 metric tonnes of garbage is dumped there, experts claim that only 6,000-7,000 metric tonnes is dumped."

He added that if Rs 250-400 per tonne is paid for dumping garbage then Rs 9 lakh is being paid in excess to contractors.

Pawaskar sought to know where this percentage of money goes.

"A criminal case should be filed against the concerned BMC officials for failing to take action against the contractors," he said. He disclosed that between 2006-09, Global Environment Company Ltd which was given contract on BOOT (build, own, operate, transfer) basis was supposed to have constructed a compost treatment plant in Deonar dumping ground.

But in the last seven years the company did nothing more than landfilling. "Yet no action was taken on the contractor by the BMC," he alleged.

Pawaskar further said the BMC has deposited Rs 40,0000 crore revenue earned through taxes in fixed deposits. He added that out of the Rs 417 crore for 2015-16 meant for garbage disposal only 20 per cent has been utilised.

Now this money is being used for dousing Deonar fires. A criminal case should be filed against BMC and its officials (under section 302 of IPC) for Deonar fire and also to recover the excess of money paid to contractors, he said. Commenting on filling roads, he said Rs 350 crore was allocated towards it within last two years and all the money has been spent. Now additional allocation of Rs 109 crore is needed for works in 2016.

Commenting upon the 'nullah' desilting works, Pawaskar said that last year the BMC spent Rs 6,000-Rs 10,000 crore towards it. He added that upon inquiry of vehicles used to transport the silt, the numbers, when checked with RTO, turned out to be those of motorcycles, autorickshaws and private vehicles.

Referring to the Deonar dumping ground fires and using water to douse fires, he said that according to an IIT report, 127 lakh metric tonnes of methane gas is trapped underneath the dumped garbage which could pose serious health hazards.

Taking part in the debate, Neelam Gorhe (Shiv Sena) said after the expiry of the contract on January 31 this year, the contractor demanded Rs 36 crore from BMC and even "threatened" to drag it to court on failure to pay up.

She added that the BMC so far has spent Rs 22 crore to douse the fires at Deonar. She said there is no opposition to bring out a 'white paper' on the Deonar dumping ground issue. Commenting on the demand for probe, Gorhe pointed out that the Public Accounts Committee of the Legislature can probe actions of civic bodies.

Defending the Sena, Gorhe further pointed out that during the last 15 years, Congress Chief Ministers like Vilasrao Deshmukh, Sushilkumar Shinde and Prithviraj Chavan who ruled the state could have taken action.

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