IN RESPONSE to an adjournment motion moved during the standing committee meeting by MNS corporator Sandeep Deshpande over the misuse of Section 72(3) of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act which allows awarding of contracts without floating tenders, the civic administration said that a circular would be issued to all the departments to ensure it did not happen.
Deshpande said that the BMC had awarded contracts worth Rs 1,600 crore in the past four years under Section 72(3) of the MMC Act, without conducting a tendering process. “Apart from purchasing furniture and other materials which are not urgent in nature, the BMC also appointed a third party auditor, SGS India Private Limited, who was later implicated in the roads scam. If the usual tendering process had been followed, this could have perhaps been avoided,” said Deshpande.
Hinting at the absence of clarity about the section, Deshpande said that it was hypocritical of the BMC to not allow corporators to utilise their area development funds similarly on an urgent basis.
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“When a corporator demands that work be done using his own corporator funds on an urgent basis, without inviting tenders, the civic administration does not allow it. This is violating the basic rights of the local corporator,” he said.
Corporators from all other parties unanimously spoke in favour of the motion moved by Deshpande. Rais Shaikh of Samajwadi Party said, “Section 72(3) is supposed to be used as an exception and not as the norm. Propriety items need to be defined to ensure that the section is not misused,” he said.
Congress corporator Asif Zakaria added that the authority and the accountability of the administration needed to be kept in check. BJP corporator and group leader Manoj Kotak said that the misusing of the section was wrong for everyone and even corporators should follow the norms.
Acknowledging the rampant use of Section 72(3) to award contracts without a tender, Additional Municipal Commissioner Sanjay Mukherjee said that a circular would be issued to all the departments, including details of the items that can be purchased on an urgent basis under this section.
He added that a separate committee would be set up to determine the propriety items. Clarifying Deshpande’s allegations of passing proposals worth Rs 1600 crore, Mukherjee said that since 2012, contracts worth Rs 547.80 crore had been passed without a tendering process.