The Lunawada Municipality president has been penalised Rs 9,54,459 for alleged misappropriation of funds.
The president, Jayendrasinh Solanki, has been penalised under Section 70 (2) of the Gujarat Municipalities Act, according to an order issued by the Regional Commissioner of Municipalities, Vadodara division.
The penalty amount is the exact loss that the municipality had suffered due to the alleged inaction by the president over delayed works and tenders being issued over the same project thrice over a period of four years. Jayendrasinh Solanki is directed to pay the amount within 30 days of the notice served.
According to a complaint received by the Commissioner of Municipalities, Gandhinagar, Rs 5 crore was sanctioned for various development projects to the Lunawada Municipality by the Gujarat Municipal Finance Board under UPD 78 for the financial year 2013-14.
Of the total sanctioned funds, Rs 1 crore was attributed for the construction of RCC Road, RCC open drainage and RCC wall from Madhwas Darwaja to Vari river by the municipality. The first tender notice for this project was issued in October 2015, for which there was just one application. Two days later, another tender notice was issued which saw four agencies bidding in the re-tendering process.
The tender worth Rs 64,67,221 was given to one Parvez contractor with a deadline of six months for the above mentioned works to be completed. However, even after 18 months of the tender being passed, no work was initiated and the contractor submitted his resignation from the post and had claimed additional wages of Rs 1 lakh. It was observed that despite no work being completed in 18 months, the contractor was allowed to resign and was refunded his deposit amount and was not questioned, penalised or blacklisted from working with the municipality while the firm continues to work in other projects, the order stated.
In August 2018, another tender was issued for the same project and the contract was given to Shriram builders. However, the complaint had stated that the works being undertaken by Shriram builders are different from what was proposed and yet bills are being paid.
“Based on all the evidence provided, we concluded that this was a case of misappropriation of funds and the president was found guilty and therefore penalised. We have forwarded the report of our inquiry to the Commissioner of Municipalities, Gandhinagar for further investigations and inquiry. A further decision on the suspension of the municipality president will be taken by the higher authorities. We are also looking into the role of the Chief Officer and action will be taken if the CO’s involvement is proved in the case as well,” said Harshit Gosavi, Regional Commissioner of Municipalities, Vadodara zone.
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