Elections are around the corner and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is in a hurry to clear proposals for road work. Such was their alacrity that plans worth a whopping Rs 520 crore were cleared in 15 minutes by the Standing Committee. Moreover, these items were not even supposed to be on the agenda.
In the meeting that was held yesterday, around 16 items had crept into the agenda a night before, whereas the rules state that all agenda items need to be finalised 72 hours prior to the meeting. The agenda is decided by the Municipal Secretary department, which reports to the Mayor - Shiv Sena’s Sunil Prabhu. The proposals concerned several road projects to be undertaken in the city.
While Rs 348 crore was allotted for the beautification, strengthening and asphalting of junctions in the island city, Rs 140 crore went to correcting the unevenness of 83 major and minor roads in N and M wards in the Eastern suburbs. Another R32 crore was allocated towards strengthening of concrete roads in these wards.
The Committee has 27 members of which 15 are from the Shiv Sena, BJP and independents who support them. The rest are from Congress, NCP, MNS and Samajwadi Party. When proposals come up for discussion, members have to raise objections, if any. Else, it is considered as passed.
Opposition corporators cried foul, saying it is being done in view of the impending code of conduct for the state assembly polls. Congress’ Pravin Chheda said, “This kind of behaviour is completely unacceptable. The committee chairman didn’t even allow us to raise objections. The same contracts were rejected earlier, but with the code of conduct nearing, they are clearing it with such speed.”
Sena’s Yashodhar Phanse, chairman of the committee, replied, “Junctions need to be repaired and hence the proposals were passed. To let anyone speak or not is my right as the chairman. I did give him (Chheda) a chance earlier to talk on various other proposals.”
Additional Municipal Commissioner SVR Srinivas said, “There was a need to get junctions and the roads repaired and strengthened. Hence, these proposals were passed. Even the work on potholes is going on every day.”