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Corporators using civic funds to give freebies to put out ads, seek applications

The BMC, in a bid to keep a check on misuse of civic funds, last week issued a circular making it mandatory for corporators who are using civic funds to distribute freebies, to adhere to these new rules.

Written by Sanjana Bhalerao | Mumbai |
September 18, 2021 1:37:48 am
The BMC, in a bid to keep a check on misuse of civic funds, last week issued a circular making it mandatory for corporators who are using civic funds to distribute freebies, to adhere to these new rules.

Corporators planning to distribute freebies in their constituencies would henceforth have to put out advertisements announcing their intent and call for applications from deserving beneficiaries.

The BMC, in a bid to keep a check on misuse of civic funds, last week issued a circular making it mandatory for corporators who are using civic funds to distribute freebies, to adhere to these new rules.

The move comes after the controversy earlier this year over corporators using civic funds to buy food trucks, jute bags, solar street lights, laptops and gym equipment.

Corporators have been distributing freebies like laptops and tablets, jute bags, sewing machines, tarpaulin sheets and dustbins without any clear guidelines and eligibility criteria for beneficiaries.

The BJP has alleged that the freebies were given to party workers, instead of those who needed them.

In the circular, the BMC planning department has made it mandatory to fix eligibility criteria for each of item and seek applications from people through newspaper advertisements.

“The officials/corporators concerned must issue an advertisement in newspapers about items being distributed and applications must be invited. All applications will be screened, as per the eligibility criteria assigned to each item like sewing machines, food trucks etc,” said Kiran Dighavkar, Assistant Municipal Commissioner (Planning).

The BJP had filed a complaint with the Comptroller and Auditor General against BMC’s bid to buy 30 food and vegetable trucks, alleging that these were being purchased for distribution as freebies in Shiv

Sena corporator Yashwant Jadhav’s constituency (no. 209) in Byculla.

With BMC polls elections scheduled for early next year, corporators across the party lines are asking the civic body to fix eligibility criteria for listed items at the earliest.

A civic official said, “Twelve electoral wards have been assigned to buy food trucks with their funds.

However, since the food truck policy is pending and there are no clear guidelines regarding the eligibility criteria, the money is stuck.”

In February, the BMC Standing Committee had approved Rs 350 crore as corporators’ fund for the 227 corporators.

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