The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) employs only 54 staff members in the vigilance department to keep check on the city’s engineering works such as construction and repair of roads, solid waste management project, water department work and building construction. The team includes the deputy municipal commissioner, chief engineer as well as the administrative office staff.
In the past three years, the vigilance department has gone through 10,386 cases and collected Rs 1.22 crore as fine from contractors. The work is being done by an inadequately sized staff, complained MS Shukla, deputy municipal commissioner, vigilance department. “We manage to cover only 25 per cent of the cases with the available staff,” he continued.
Every ward employs an assistant engineer and a few other staff members, who visit and inspect locations under construction and submit a report to their seniors.
They are supposed to check the quality of the material being used in road or footpath construction like pavers, asphalt or sand in the laboratory, located at Worli. If officials find that the work is not as per BMC specifications, they have a right to ask contractors to do the work all over again. The vigilance department has the right to decide the fine.
When asked about the inadequate staff, Shukla said, “This is a policy decision and it will be taken up at the administration level. If we could get more staff we would be able to cross-check and inspect more cases.”
Vinod Shelar, Bharatiya Janata Party corporator, said that the administration should look into the issue and need to increase the size of the staff. “If the staff increases it may also help to improve the quality of work. And the fine amount may also increase,” said Shelar.