Even as the UT vigilance department is investigating the alleged illegal pilferage and sale of diesel by drivers of the Municipal Corporation’s field vehicles, information obtained by Newsline under the RTI Act shows an unusually high amount of money spent on fuel and maintenance of some vehicles of the civic body.
Sample this: a whopping Rs 2.17 crore was spent by the MC in a little less than three years as fuel and maintenance expenditure of only 14 vehicles of roads division number two which covers eastern areas of the city. These vehicles include three cars —two Maruti Gypsies and a Mahindra Bolero— attached with the officers and 11 field vehicles including Swaraj Mazda, tippers, trucks etc.
In 2013-14, for instance, a total of Rs 86.82 lakh was spent as the fuel cost of these 14 vehicles. That works out to nearly Rs 24,000 per day. Or about Rs 1,700 per vehicle per day.
The maintenance cost of these vehicles was also quite high – it ranged between Rs 51,506 and Rs 2,83,440 for a vehicle during the last three years. In fact, Rs 2.20 lakh was spent as maintenance cost for one of the vehicles in October 2012 alone. Officials contacted by Newsline were not sure on what such a high amount was spent. For another vehicle, Rs 46,214 was spent on maintenance in April 2012, Rs 59,063 in March 2013, Rs 37,850 in December 2013 and Rs 84,452 in February 2014. There were other high-mainteance vehicles too among the 14.
Superintending engineer (roads) N P Sharma said, “The records of expenditure on vehicles is maintained with the respective executive engineers, and therefore, they are the right persons to comment on this matter. Generally, the vehicles in the roads division are quite old and it is possible, that their cost of repair is high due to wear and tear. Although there is no limit on the amount of money to be spent on diesel for the field vehicles, the limit of petrol for the officers’ vehicles is fixed.” Executive engineer Jai Pal Singh of roads division number 2 said, “We get the vehicles repaired every year but I cannot comment on the cost as the record is not maintained in my office.”
In the health and sanitation wing, which has the highest number of vehicles – around 80 of them – Rs 4.09 crore was spent on diesel from March 2014 to January 2015. In 2013-14, Rs 2.80 crore was spent on fuel while in 2012-13, the figure was Rs 2.70 crore. Apart from this, Rs 5.64 lakh was spent as the fuel cost on the official vehicle allotted to the medical officer of health for a little under three years between 2012 and 2015.That roughly works out to a modest Rs 500 per day. Only Rs 11,175 was spent for its maintenance in the same period.
In all Rs 12.26 crore was spent on the vehicles of this wing in a little less than three years. “In the MOH wing, the routes of all garbage collection vehicles and other field vehicles is fixed, and therefore, based on the route and the mileage of the vehicles, vouchers to the tune of around 40 to 60 litres are issued to each vehicle once every two days,” said an MOH official not wishing to be named. Most other wings replied that the information on the expenditure incurred on vehicles is not separately maintained. Officials said that the records of expenditure on vehicles are either not maintained at the sub-divisional officer’s level or they are included in the overall non-plan expenditure incurred during the year.
“There is a fixed budget allocated under the non-plan head under which these expenses are included. In our wing, no separate data exists for the expenditure on vehicles,” said a horticulture official. For vehicles allotted to officers in the MC head office, a limit of 200 litres per month is imposed on each vehicle while for the field vehicles in various wings, vouchers are issued for fuel expenditure based on requirement. For around 10 vehicles in the public health division number one, a total amount of Rs 95.95 lakh was spent on fuel, repair, insurance and maintenance of the vehicles in the last three years. Similarly, for roads division number one, Rs 17 lakh was spent as the fuel cost on 14 vehicles in 2013.