The corporators at the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) demanded a vigilance enquiry on the working of the printing press which was set up by the administration at Byculla. Ruling and opposition party members of the Standing Committee, one of BMC’s statutory committees, alleged that the contract signed between the company and corporation was a loss-making venture for the administration.
The issue came to light after a proposal reached the BMC’s Standing Committee meeting on Wednesday, where an order to print 2.5 lakh posters for dengue and malaria awareness was given to an external printing press. The cost incurred was R48.12 lakh, which raised many eyebrows among elected representatives. Many questioned the move to pass the order to an outside press in spite of having an internal one.
The corporators alleged that the contract signed by the administration states that the BMC has to purchase the printing machines, the ink used and an additional R0.53 per poster to the contractors. On the other hand, each machine at Byculla costs the administration R3 crore. Four machines have been purchased over the past few years.
Sandeep Deshpande, one of the corporators and members of Standing Committee, said, “Why must the BMC give a printing contract to an external contractor. However, printing in our own press is difficult, too. This matter needs urgent attention. This is a major problem in the department.”
Manoj Kotak, the group leader of BJP at BMC, said, “I would have to look into details regarding these posters, and where they will be pasted. Many workers in our printing press have been sitting idle, and we have good technology to print posters. But the fact that this contract went to an external contractor means printing in our own press is a loss-making affair. I fail to understand why such contracts are signed.”
Additional municipal commissioner, SVR Srinivas, said, “We will have to think over this demand.”