Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Rs 3cr wasted on mechanical brooms not suited to Mumbai, finds civic audit

MUMBAI: The mechanized brooms that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) bought in 2007 for Rs 3 crore, rarely saw action and have not been functioning for years now. A BMC audit report has found that the 20 hi-tech brooms, bought to ensure effective cleaning of city roads and inaugurated with fanfare by then mayor Shubha Raul, are lying in the civic garage in Santa Cruz.

The BMC had bought the machines arguing that civic labourers failed to clean roads properly. However, the machines were soon damaged due to lack of expertise to operate them and poor maintenance.

Moreover, the audit report released last week observed, it was very clear that the machines were not working to their full capacity due to the unsuitable condition of Mumbai roads. While the mechanical brooms were ostensibly bought to reduce manpower, but in reality roads would be cleaned by labourers and the machines later used to mop up the dust. The report also said the BMC should have initially bought two or four machines to observe their functioning, instead of buying 20 machines in one go.
The Rs 7-crore deal also included Rs 4 crore as maintenance charges. But the audit report said that amount wasn't paid to the supplier, who was also responsible for maintenance, as he didn't take cognizance of repeated complaints. The machines broke down several times within the first year itself.

The report says the brooms' dust cleaning capacity was 14-16,000 sq m per hour, but records show they were used only for 2,000 sq m per hour. "They were distributed to wards, hospitals and the zoo. But they would break down, so staff didn't want to use them. Now they are in the garage as they have stopped functioning," said a senior official from the solid waste management department.