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Peer pressure on Abu Azmi to drop BMC project bid

Samajwadi Party leader Abu Asim Azmi’s sexist remarks yesterday have attracted a barrage of condemnation from all quarters. And the Mankhurd-Shivaji Nagar MLA is not getting much in the form of endorsement from fellow politicos on other issues either.

On New Year’s Day, MiD DAY had reported (‘Abu Azmi’s bid for Rs 174-cr BMC contract slammed’) about the SP Maharashtra unit president’s attempt to acquire a Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation waste management project. While the civic body estimated Rs 174 crore for the work, a joint venture of MK Enterprises, Global Waste Management Cell Pvt Ltd and Gulf Hotel quoted Rs 168 crore, which is the lowest price. Gulf Hotel belongs to Abu Asim Azmi.

Now a number of political leaders have argued in favour of restricting elected representatives like MLAs and MPs from bidding in such projects. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) corporator Dilip Lande has written a letter to municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte raising the issue. “It has been an unspoken rule in BMC that assignments like this should not be handed to firms that have direct links with an MP, MLA or councillor. If this tradition is dispensed with, how will one be able to ensure that the quality of work is not affected?” said Lande in his correspondence.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) corporator Dhananjay Pisal said civic work should go on efficiently. A Congress councillor said that if Azmi is allowed to obtain the project, other MLAs and MPs too would be vying for BMC ventures in the future. The civic body has a yearly budget of around Rs 27,000 crore. Municipal commissioner Kunte was, however, reluctant to comment on the matter.

“We aren’t facing such a problem today,” he said. When asked whether BMC officials would feel pressured in the future if politicians were allowed to enter the arena of civic work, he said, “We will consider things, if this does happen.” Former municipal commissioner DM Sukhthankar was more forthcoming, and stated that quality of civic services will be hit if politicians are allowed to turn contractors. He said though it is not illegal for a neta to get a contract, it would be ethically wrong.  

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