BJP Councillor Arun Sood Wednesday alleged that some officials of the fire department while asking commercial establishment owners to apply for a No-Objection Certificate (NOC), were forcing the latter to buy fire equipment from one particular shop.
During the General House meeting of the Municipal Corporation, Sood further said that one of the owners was even asked to pay a “penalty” for not purchasing the material from the shop which was told by the official.
Municipal Commissioner K K Yadav asked Sood to tell the complainant to approach him and said that he will request the Chief Vigilance Officer (UT Advisor) to order a vigilance inquiry into the matter.
Sood said that a building owner approached him as he was told that since he did not purchase material from that particular shop, he will now have to give a “penalty” of Rs 25,000 to them. “That owner was given the visiting card to purchase the fire equipment from there. And when the man purchased it from a different shop, a material which actually cost Rs 50,000 was costing him Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1,25,000 lakh at that shop,” the councillor said “There is a minimum margin of Rs 50,000 in this,” Sood said alleging “And now when the person took the material from another shop and approached the firemen for NOC, he was told that he will be penalized Rs 25,000 for not taking it from that shop. This is sheer corruption,” he added.
To this, Commissioner K K Yadav said, “ I will not tolerate corruption at all. Please ask the complainant to give it to me in the writing and I will recommend a vigilance inquiry.”
Sood alleged that the “fleecing” by fire officials must have been done from almost every commercial establishment owner. “There are people who fear and don’t want to come forward. This man has shown the courage to speak up to us. I do not know why these officials start this ‘side business’,” the councillor said.
The Municipal Corporation had made fire NOC mandatory for all commercial establishments on the payment of a certain charge. The NOC is given only after fire officials inspect the area to ensure that all the requisite fire equipment have been installed.