MumbaiVotes: 16 spent ‘more than allotted’ fundshttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/mumbaivotes-16-spent-more-than-allotted-funds-2759719/

MumbaiVotes: 16 spent ‘more than allotted’ funds

Of these 16, six belong to the Shiv Sena, four are from the MNS, three from the Congress, two from the BJP and one from the NCP.

In the three years between 2012 and 2015, at least 16 corporators in the city spent more than their allotted councillor funds to undertake various civic works in their areas, according to data analysed by MumbaiVotes.

According to the report, these corporators included Sunil More of Congress (106.55%), Rupali Raorane of the NCP (106.06%), Vandana Sable of the Congress (103.52%), Anil Patankar of the Shiv Sena (102.47%), Abhishek Ghosalkar of the Shiv Sena (102.24%) and others.

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Of these 16, six belong to the Shiv Sena, four are from the MNS, three from the Congress, two from the BJP and one from the NCP.

Data analysed by MumbaiVotes considers only the ‘corporator fund’ of Rs 60 lakh given every year to every corporator, not the additional ‘local area funds’. This latter sum is Rs 1 crore per year.

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Rupali Raorane’s husband Ajit Raorane, a former corporator, said sometimes special funds are used and that is why the total expenditure appears to have exceeded allotted funds.

“Normally, special funds given to ward offices are used for carrying out our work, if needed. So, the funds utilisation might be showing a little higher because of this. But after all, we are only focusing on work,” said Raorane.

Corporator Dr Shubha Raul, a former mayor, said she issues letters for work that is important for people. “I normally do not go into details of the tendering process but instead focus on getting the work done. I normally don’t go into details of from where the funds were allotted,” said Raul.

Special funds are given to ward offices for works such as constructing toilets, laying water lines in slums and others, said Jyotsna Mehta, BJP corporator.

Anil Patankar, a Shiv Sena corporator, said he exhausted his funds and that’s why the utilisation was appearing higher than allocation.

However, Asif Zakaria, Congress corporator from Bandra West, said the data was incorrect. “They have taken data from the BMC’s website, which is incomplete. I had told MumbaiVotes about this, but it seems they didn’t understand. Only one year, due to elections, a small amount from my funds lapsed despite work being approved,” said Zakaria, adding that he has utilised all of his funds.

Officials from the finance department of the civic body said it is possible to use more funds. “If the basis of the report is only councillors funds, then it is quite possible that it will show that more money has been spent. This is because the allocations are made at standing committee and corporation level, which might not have been considered in this report,” explained a senior finance department official.