Pune: Following the COVID-19 outbreak, as Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) faces the heat on the revenue collection front, some of the civic officials are floating beautification tenders and misuse public funds.
For non-priority works so far during the past month, about Rs 1 crore of tenders have been floated. Now the municipal commissioner has agreed to make construction work a priority.
Civic chief Shekhar Gaikwad made the pre-monsoon work a priority and approved floating of tenders for the same in the lockdown. The drainage departments and road departments later floated tenders of more than Rs. 8 crore.
On the other hand, some ward offices have started floating tenders for the beautification of roads, chowks, for repairing footpaths, concretising of bylanes, changing interlocking blocks, installing of signboards, purchasing gymnasium instruments, which is considered as non-government priority development works.
Stop spending on beautification work
MP Vandana Chavan had written a letter to the municipal commissioner strongly opposing these works. When a financial crunch is felt at the state and PMC rates, she demanded to stop spending public money on such non-productive and non-priority work. The civic body appeals to individuals and organizations to donate medical supplies and support them in this crisis.
She pointed out that PMC will not get sufficient revenue from the state government as the GST subsidy. It would also negatively impact the recovery of PMC revenue from the property tax and development fees. So in the coming days, PMC will cancel beautification tenders and prioritize works.
Follow financial discipline
Explaining the need for financial discipline, Shekhar Gaikwad said, "We have to speak to all party leaders and persuade them to postpone non-priority works as our income has started going down. There are 7,000 non-priority works with budgetary allocations. Time has come to follow the financial discipline to overcome the financial crisis due to the Covid-19 epidemic."
Mayor Murlidhar Mohol said, "Why did they issue tenders for beautification works. PMC should stop such works."
He added, "We will set priorities for public works and decide accordingly."
Road Department has floated two tenders worth Rs 35.60 lakh to embellish roads, chowks and so on. The final date for the submission of tenders is May 4, 2020.
Meanwhile, PMC Road department chief superintendent VG Kulkarni said, "We have cancelled tenders of beautification works of around Rs 34 lakh."
However, tenders still exist on the government website.