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Aaditya Thackeray claims street furniture “scam” of Rs 260 crore in Mumbai

MUMBAI: Shiv Sena (UBT) MLA Aaditya Thackeray on Friday alleged a nearly Rs 260 crore worth of ”scam” in the Mumbai civic body’s plan to buy street furniture, including benches, and hit out at the Eknath Shinde-BJP government in the Maharashtra Assembly, calling it pro builders and contractors.

Speaking in the Assembly, the Opposition MLA from Worli in central Mumbai called the Shinde-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government as ”unconstitutional”.

”Earlier a ruling party MLA also had raised the issue (of alleged irregularities in street furniture project) via a letter, but the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) administration seems to have the backing of the unconstitutional government for corruption,” Thackeray alleged while participating in a debate on urban issues.

Citing a letter written by the ruling party MLA to the BMC, the former state minister sought answers from the civic body.

He questioned why the health department had issued a tender for the roads department related to purchase of street furniture.

The tender was set to help a particular contractor and has absurd clauses, including one which says all 13 items under the street furniture project is to be provided by the same contractor, said the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) legislator.

To ensure a particular contract wins the tender, the defect liability period for products has been set between 2 years to 10 years (without material testing), he said and alleged a ”scam” of nearly Rs 260 crore in the entire project.

The civic body is set to buy thousands of street benches (almost 40,000) and planters (containers in which plants are grown) as part of the project, said Thackeray and asked where will the BMC install all these items. The Shiv Sena (UBT) leader said these products should be purchased on need basis by civic wards and not centrally through one tender.

Thackeray claimed details of product rates are not known and alleged the entire process was aimed at favouring a contractor.

Bulk buying should involve a discount, not an escalation of price. Money will be given to the contractor now, but the supply time for products extends to more than 3 years, he said.

”This unconstitutional government is for builders and contractors, not for the common citizen. I will oppose this in every way. The civic body, which is without elected representatives today, is being used as a money machine by this gang of gaddars (traitors) and to spoil my city Mumbai,” he alleged.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), ruled by the undivided Shiv Sena for several years, is currently under an administrator as the term of elected corporators ended early last year.

Source: Press Trust of India

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