Updated: August 27, 2021 7:06:44 am
The PCMC standing committee has found itself at the centre of a controversy after its chairman and four civic employees were arrested in a bribe case recently. Amidst the demand for dissolution of PCMC and appointment of an administrator, BJP corporator and former standing committee chairperson Seema Savale tells Manoj More that the proceedings of the committee should be recorded and uploaded on PCMC website for greater transparency.
How do you respond to the charge from opposition parties and civic activists that the PCMC standing committee is corrupt?
PCMC is one of the most well-managed municipal corporations in the entire state. The opposition just makes vague allegations. The PCMC standing committee consists of four members of NCP and one member of Shiv Sena, other than the 11 members of BJP. They can surely raise their concerns in the committee meetings if they feel something is being done with corrupt intentions.
Is there full transparency in the PCMC tender process?
It is alleged that certain contractors are favoured by committee members and they are allotted the tenders repeatedly…
Tenders are floated online. Anybody who is eligible as per government norms can participate in these tenders. The contractor has to compete on values too. The lowest bidder is allotted the tender, There have been a few attempts to alter the terms and conditions for eligibility but we have raised are concerns vociferously so as to enable healthy competition.
What changes did you bring in the committee’s functioning during you tenure?
During my tenure as chairman of the standing committee, my team and I tried to make the working more transparent… we opened the doors of the standing committee meetings to journalists and the public. Before I took charge, there was a practice of taking high-value last-minute proposals, but we stopped this bad practice entirely during my tenure. Escalations of tender value was entirely stopped by us. We also made it a point to have all tender files pre-audited and every tender file was referred to the vigilance committee for scrutiny prior to approval of the standing committee.
What changes do you suggest to make the standing committee’s functioning more transparent?
There must be a time-bound system to approve and expedite tender agreements and work orders so that the committee does not have to face allegations of corruption. Tender files need to be signed by standing committee members on first-come-first-serve basis. In case any proposals are to be adjourned, there must be a valid reason for the adjournment and that reason must be recorded in the minutes of the meeting.
The proceedings of the committee meetings are available on the website of PCMC…. I feel that public at large and journalists must play a more proactive role by monitoring the decisions made by the committees. I also feel that proceedings of the standing committee should be videographed and displayed on the website of the corporation. This would make people understand the process better and would make the working of the committee more transparent.
Will the arrest of the panel chairman affect BJP’s chances in upcoming civic polls?
The BJP will surely showcase the good work done when they got the chance to govern. Though the opposition might try to create some false perception, the voters will vote as per their own wisdom.
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