September 8, 2009 2:48:31 am
Out of the 425 buses to be received by August end,only three buses arrive,civic bodies refute charges, PMPML concedes plan delayed
Commuters in the city whose daily travel travails would have eased by now have suffered a setback as the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd (PMPML) which was supposed to get 425 buses by August end,has received only three buses. Reason: PMPML has apparently failed to release 50 per cent of the advance amount which works out to Rs around 113 crore of the Rs 227 crore.
“PMPML could not release the funds as the Pune Municipal Corporation and the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation did not pass on the funds they received under JNNURM from the central government,” alleges Prashant Inamdar,covenor of Pedestrians First. In July,the PMC has received Rs 40 crore and the PCMC Rs 16.50 crore under JNNURM. The PMC has during Praveen Pardeshi’s tenure already released Rs 16 crore.
When contacted,Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Commissioner Asheesh Sharma said his administration is releasing the funds today itself. “Our cheque for Rs 16.50 crore is ready and would reach the PMPML today,” he said. Pune Municipal Commissioner Mahesh Zagade said the funds are being released as and when they are received. “But as per my information,the amount for buses will be against the delivery,” he said.
Satish Kulkarni,joint managing director of PMPML,there is “no problem” for releasing the funds. “There is a committment from both the civic bodies and I am sure the funds will be released soon,” he said.
In a letter to the Central Government,Inamdar has pointed out that due to delay in release of funds by PMC and PCMC,the bus purchase plan has been delayed inordinately. Conceding that there will be a delay,Kulkarni said,”There will be a delay,but the 650 buses for sure are coming,” he said.
The Centre has sanctioned 500 buses for Pune and 150 buses for Pimpri-Chinchwad under the JNNURM financial assistance scheme for purchase of buses. As per the scheme,50 per cent of the cost of buses will be provided by Centre as a one time grant,20 per cent will come from the state and balance 30 per cent will be the contribution of PMC and PCMC.
PMPML has placed order for buses for 200 diesel non-AC semi low floor buses,250 CNG non-AC semi low floor buses, 200 CNG AC low floor buses. “As per PO terms 50% advance has to be paid with the purchase order and balance 50% at the time of delivery.
We understand that JNNURM share of the advance i.e. 25% of total price has been released by Centre. However PMC has passed on only Rs 16 crores to PMPML whereas PCMC has not given any. The State too has not given their share,” said Inamdar in the letter.
“As per the purchase order schedule,all the 200 diesel buses should have been delivered by July itself and by now 225 buses against orders placed on 24-04-09 should also have been delivered. However,the pathetic situation is that only three diesel buses have been delivered to PMPML so far.
Thus though PMPML was probably the first in the country to place orders for buses under JNNURM scheme,there has not been any progress in the matter of delivery of buses due to lack of funds. As such the public transport situation in the city continues to be grim,” says Inamdar.
Inamdar said in the absence of adequate progress monitoring,the very purpose of the Central stimulus package under JNNURM scheme may get defeated.
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