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PMC CCTV scam, on pretext of Ganeshotsav security, nipped in bud

A project of Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to secure the city during the Ganesh festival immersion procession is under the lens for all the wrong reasons. The civic body had proposed to engage 60 CCTV camera units at various spots of immersionroute and riverside areas. According to tender the rent of each camera unit for two days was Rs 47,000. Taking into account the total equipment and manpower required to operate them for two days, the total cost of the tender was pegged at Rs 30 lakh.

Tilak Chowk
Keeping an eye: Tilak Chowk, one of the sixty spots where PMC was to install CCTV units for Ganpati immersion procession. Pic/Sachin Thakare

However, after a market survey, members of the citizens group Sajag Nagrik Manch (SNM) revealed that a camera unit could be purchased for Rs 20,000, implying that the total expenses would be less than 50 per cent of the hiring charges. Finally, the civic body has stopped the work order and officials are going float fresh tenders.

Money matters
“After conducting an evaluation we found that the price of a set of 3 CCTV cameras with DVR system (one unit) is Rs 20,000 and the was only Rs 1,500 But in the tender, PMC had demonstrated the hiring costs of each camera for two days as Rs 47,000. There were no descriptions of the company, cameras or other technical details. So it wasn’t clear on what basis PMC was spending Rs 30 lakh for two days,” said SNM member Vishwas Sahastrabudhe.

After collecting documents and carrying out a market survey, the activists sent a letter to municipal commissioner Mahesh Pathak, revealing all the facts and figures. “The commissioner immediately ordered concerned officials of PMC to stop the work order and provide germane details about the proposal,” Sahastrabudhe added.

“It was sheer waste of money without sufficient homework and study. We agree that safety of people during Ganesh festival is necessary and CCTV is an important device for that. But after all it is taxpayer’s money, and funds should be utilised appropriately. Last year they spent Rs 15 lakh for hiring CCTV cameras during immersion procession. So this year we complained before the project commenced,” said SNM representative Vivek Velankar.

Officialspeak
Deputy municipal commissioner Vijay Dahibhate who initiated the project said, “We have stopped the work order. Actually we wanted to hire cameras because after purchasing we would require dedicated staff to maintain them. But considering it is a cheaper option, we are rethinking on the proposal. After a suitable study we will reach a conclusion, but definitely the camera costing Rs 20,000 would be short-listed.” 

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