What looks like a major blow to the Uddhav Thackeray led Shiv Sena, the deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday announced that a detailed and timebound investigation shall be carried out in various alleged scams that took place in the last 2.5 years regarding projects carried out by the BMC.
Three most important investigations, firstly related to COVID centre scam, secondly the road scam and lastly an investigation in the Cycle track project. The Cycle track project was the pet project of Aaditya Thackeray, which ran into several controversies and Congress MLA Zeeshan Siddique raised the matter in the house to which Fadnavis assured that an investigation in this regard will be carried out. Siddique represents the Bandra east constituency in the Maharashtra Assembly, Bandra east houses Matoshree, the residence of the Thackerays.
On Wednesday, Devendra Fadnavis has said in clear words that there are many projects which need a detailed investigation, but these investigations cannot go on for a long time and cannot be a farce.
While talking about the alleged scams that took place while awarding tenders during the COVID pandemic, where some employees of the BMC were even named, Fadnavis said, “Employees of Municipal Corporation opened companies and were even awarded tenders during COVID pandemic. This needs to be investigated not by BMC, but by an officer from the Urban Development department and this investigation has to be carried out in a time bound manner.”
Fadnavis further added, “There can’t be a farce in the name of investigation, a proper time bound investigation has to be conducted and be conveyed to the BMC. There are specific complaints, and these complaints need a special CAG audit. I have spoken to the chief minister and a special audit by the CAG will be conducted and this will be done soon.”
According to Fadnavis, a police complaint has already been registered regarding the scam related to the COVID centre, already Lokayukta has received a complaint, and prima facie there appears to be wrongdoing.
Talking about the road quality and the alleged scam related to it, Fadnavis said, “We are paying attention to all the issues including the Rs 2,000 crore scam, the quality of roads and the entire economics of potholes.”
Currently in Mumbai, around 1200 kilometer roads are still of tar, Fadnavis claimed that already a tender has been issued for the concretization of 400 kilometer road, tender for 200 kilometer will be issued soon, tender for the remaining 600 kilometer will be issued by March next year and in the next three years all these roads will be concretized.
Fadnavis also claimed that, earlier in BMC a local contractor would get qualified for the road work, but big companies like L&T won’t. Now the chief minister has ordered that those organizations, which are in quality constructions and big organizations will be awarded the contract and not those who would earlier not even put layers on the roads.
All the agencies including the BMC, MSRDC, MMRDA, PWD have been asked to fill the potholes, so that during Ganesh Chaturthi there’s no issue. Fadnavis talked about the economics related to potholes and said that the government has put its attention to this economy too.
The government also decided that all sanitation workers within the Municipal corporations will be provided with a permanent home on ownership basis. Fadnavis claimed that the central government had decided to provide homes to the Safai Karmacharis but someone in the previous government overturned this decision. Now 29,000 sanitation workers will be provided with homes that will be on ownership basis.
Also the BMC has been asked to carry out the redevelopment of the chawls and their dilapidated quarters on their own, as BDD chawl is being redeveloped by MHADA.
The BMC elections are soon to be held and for the last two decades Uddhav Thackeray led Shiv Sena has been in power, the BJP also shared the power with the Shiv Sena, but in the last five years it has only the Shiv Sena led by Thackeray that was in power.
All the projects in which the Eknath Shinde-Devendra Fadnavis led government has ordered an inquiry and investigation, were passed during the last two and half years. The road contract is an ongoing issue, but an inquiry is now seen as a direct attack on the Shiv Sena, which in the last few years has been targeted for the bad road condition in the city.
Even Congress’ Milind Deora released a video on Wednesday stating that Rs 12,000 crore has been spent on the road repairs within BMC jurisdiction in the last five years and has demanded that a CBI inquiry be set up for the same. The interesting point here is Deora, a former Congress MP, has accused the Shiv Sena led BMC, but his party is part of the MahaVikas Aghadi, which also comprises Shiv Sena and the NCP.