Updated: September 26, 2021 8:58:44 am
The BJP has landed in a spot of bother after party corporator Asha Shendge repeated her charges that corruption has taken place in the implementation of the Rs 1,200-crore smart city project in Pimpri-Chinchwad. The PCMC administration has asked the corporator to direct her complaints to state principal secretary Nitin Kareer, who is the chairman of Pimpri-Chinchwad Smart City Ltd.
BJP corporators on the board of the Pimpri-Chinchwad Smart City Ltd and PCMC officials, however, have denied the charges. Shendge and another BJP corporator, Seema Savale, have demanded an investigation into corruption allegations.
Shengde was recently arrested for throwing ink on the nameplate of municipal commissioner Rajesh Patil. After her release on Thursday, she made a number of complaints regarding corruption in the smart city project to the civic chief. She also highlighted other inconveniences being faced by the residents. “Seema Savale and I have jointly complained in writing to the municipal commissioner. Most of the complaints are regarding corruption in smart city projects. But we are yet to hear from the commissioner,” she said.
The PCMC chief, who is also the CEO of Pimpri-Chinchwad Smart City Ltd, on Friday said: “The corporator has made some verbal complaints… Our smart city team visited the spot and took necessary action in the matter. We have also given her a reply in writing. If she has another complaint, she should approach the chairman of the board of directors of the smart city project.”
Neelkanth Poman, the joint CEO of Pimpri-Chinchwad Smart City Ltd, said, “The allegations levelled by the corporators are not true. No corruption has taken place in the 32 projects that are being implemented by the smart city company. We have replied to every query and allegation raised by the corporators.”
The ruling BJP, too, denied the allegations. “What the corporators are saying are their personal views. We have asked the CEO of the smart city company to probe the allegations and find out the truth. We have spoken to Rajesh Patil several times on the issue. However, we would like to point out that no corruption has taken place in the implementation of the smart city projects. The board of directors of the smart city company has corporators from different parties. If there was any corruption, then they would have certainly raised the issue,” Namdeo Dhake, the BJP house leader in the PCMC, said on Saturday.
Mayor Usha Dhore, who is also the director of the Pimpri-Chinchwad Smart City Ltd, said, “Although I don’t think there has been any corruption in the smart city project, it is for the administration to clear the air on the allegations. I don’t want to speak much on the issue.”
MNS corporator Sachin Chikhale, who is also the director of Pimpri-Chinchwad Smart City Ltd, said, “I don’t think any corruption has taken place. If the corporators have any proof, they should submit them to the CEO of the company.”
Corporator Seema Savale said, “Corruption has taken place right from the planning stage. The project amount has been inflated to start with. The terms and conditions of tendering have been tweaked to suit vested interests, and there have been several irregularities in implementing the project as well.”
Savale alleged that “whitener” has been used on bills to inflate rates.
“We strongly believe that the board of directors and even officials are involved in the wrongdoing. They are working under the pressure of certain outsiders. They all are hand in gloves,” Savale said.
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