Monday, April 22, 2013

BMC-hawker scam-mumbai

Khar ALM exposes BMC-hawker scam

ALM members find godown clerk, along with three others, returning wares to hawkers for as little as Rs 300 when the actual fine is a minimum of Rs 1,250

 Members of a Khar ALM exposed how and why illegal hawkers return to a designated zone a few hours after they are evicted.

On Saturday night, the members of the ALM went to a BMC godown, where wares seized by the hawkers are kept. According to the rules, hawkers are supposed to come and collect the wares only after paying a fine.

The minimum a hawker needs to pay is Rs 1,250. However, residents were shocked to find officials returning the wares and the confiscated goods to the hawkers for as little as Rs 300. This, they said, was done ‘under the table’.

The ALM received a tip-off from some residents that a BMC godown was open after 11 pm. Sensing something amiss, members of the ALM went to investigate.

They found two lorry inspectors, one godown clerk and another person, who was not a member of the ward office team.

“What shocked us the most is that other than officials posted at the godown, there was an official from BMC’s special squad whose job is only to confiscate wares. He was sitting in the godown and negotiating with the hawkers for the bribe money,” said Hasim Shaikh, a member of ALM 144 and a local acvitist.

The residents have also managed to record a video of the same. The special squad officer, allegedly from Dadar, immediately fled the spot. The residents immediately alerted various BMC authorities including the municipal commissioner.

The Khar police was also informed and they rushed to the spot immediately. “This is not the first time that such an incident has taken place. In 2008-09, we had similarly exposed an officer who used to allow people to dump old goods and take away goods that were meant for auctioning. The then deputy municipal commissioner rushed to the spot and caught them redhanded. The officers on duty were suspended immediately and an inquiry was initiated,” said Aftab Siddique, chairperson of ALM 144.

When Mumbai Mirror contacted Mohan Adtani, additional municipal commissioner, confirmed receiving the complaint from the residents. “I had instructed deputy municipal commissioner, removal of encroachment, to personally go to the godown and conduct a preliminary inquiry. It was found in the inquiry that there were irregularities. The material lying in the godown was less than what had been confiscated (suggesting that wares had been given out without imposing fines). We have decided to suspend the godown incharge and institute a formal inquiry into the incident,” said Adtani.