To crack down on scams like the nullah desilting racket, BMC plans to monitor dumping vehicles in real time. The scam came to light couple of months ago after the civic authorities realised that private contractors showed wrong details on the quantity of silt removed and transported. Now, an improvised vehicle tracking system (VTS) could allow even the BMC to keep real-time watch via GPS, which until now could be done only by the contractors and seniormost officials.
Desilting scam: BMC assures departmental inquiry against errant civic officials
The civic body was rocked by the nullah desilting scam earlier this year when corporators alleged a graft of Rs 100 crore. They alleged that despite spending the amount, the nullahs were never actually cleaned, and the debris never dumped at the stipulated spots, which caused flooding in the June rains.
A preliminary probe indicted 14 contractors, who were blacklisted, and 9 civic engineers, who were suspended. A detailed enquiry was completed recently and civic officials have promised an FIR against those indicted soon.
Some measures have been suggested by the two enquiry committees (set up after the nullah desilting scam) to make the process of desilting transparent. “One of the measures is connecting the VTS to our servers in the BMC. This means any civic official with a valid password will be able to access real-time information of the vehicles carrying silt. Thus, it is not only the consultant or head of the department but also IT officials who will be able to track vehicles and keep a check on them,” informed Laxman Vhatkar, chief engineer (storm water drains).
Vhatkar was referring to a GPS-based system, wherein so far only the consultant and seniormost civic officials would be able to track vehicles. Now, with the new system even the IT department will be able to track vehicles. The BMC will also erect chowkies and man them at weigh bridges (where the silt is weighed) so that nobody can tamper with the machines. Civic workers will be stationed there in two shifts. The measures will come into effect when the next set of contracts is allotted in 2016.