Despite having 750 gardeners, BMC issues horticulture contract worth Rs 40 crore

It appears that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has failed to learn lessons from the past on how not to waste public money.  In a move that has baffled a few of its own officials, the civic body has awarded a three-year gardening contract worth Rs 40 crore to several contractors, despite having its very own platoon of 750 gardeners.

A photographer enjoys his walk in the BMC garden in Malad. Despite having a gardening staff, the civic body has awarded a 3-year contract to private firms to takw care of its gardens. File pic

The BMC said it would continue to pay gardeners the monthly salary of Rs 15,000. This means that the civic body would be spending Rs 40.5 crore in salaries for the next three years. The contract was passed overlooking the objection raised by Niranjan Shetty, a member of BMC’s tree authority committee. Shetty said, “When we have so many gardeners, who have been regularly trimming trees, I do not understand the logic behind hiring contractors. 

Is the BMC adamant on wasting public money? The administration didn’t even consult the authority before going ahead and allotting contracts to private players. This is undemocratic and we oppose it.” According to a senior officer from the garden department, the BMC’s decision to award the contract was meaningless, and would render most of the gardeners unemployed.

The other side
Joint Municipal Commissioner S S Shinde said, “We don’t have the machinery, and buying it is an expensive option. Similarly, training the existing staff for the same would mean more expense. The gardeners can take care of the gardens and plots with the BMC.” Reacting to Shinde’s explanation, Shetty said training the existing gardening staffers would increase their efficiency, and the contract money could have been spent on their welfare.

Down the drain
Rs 59.65 lakh: Amount BMC paid per ambulance total six that were available for Rs 29.5 lakh

Rs 68 crore: BMC spent on purchasing three jetpatchers in 2009 to fix potholes. Machines gathering dust in the workshop as no agency has been contracted to maintain them  

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