Updated:  August 12, 2017 1:21 am | Mumbai

After allegations of multi-crore scams in road and drain cleaning contracts, the Shiv Sena-controlled BMC is under the scanner for alleged financial irregularities in contracts for sewage management in the city. In a report, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has accused the civic body of passing on “undue financial benefit” totalling Rs 119.48 crore to the contractors.

A report on the audit by the CAG on the status of sewage management in Mumbai for 2010-16 was placed before the state legislature on Friday. The report has pointed out that the BMC issued payments to contractors for works that had not been carried out. It has alleged that inflated rates were accepted for contracts and incorrect estimation methods were used to favour the contractors.

The CAG observations are mainly about tunnelling and micro-tunnelling contracts, laying of new sewer lines and trenches, and the rehabilitation and repair of old man-entry sewers.

Pointing out that 49 per cent of sewage generated in Mumbai was discharged untreated into the sea and creeks causing continuous pollution, the CAG has objected to delays in finalisation of tenders and works to construct waste water treatment facilities and upgrade the existing sewage network. Crores of rupees were blocked as works were awarded without any integrated planning, the CAG has observed.

While the BMC had formulated a master plan in 2002 for the augmentation of the sewerage network, the CAG has said the civic body did not follow this master plan. While the civic body has spent Rs 180 crore to pay a project management consultant, the CAG has pointed out that work has not taken off on a single project. It has also rapped the BMC over the failure to recycle and reuse treated sewage.

In a separate report, the CAG has slammed the BMC for the lack of a comprehensive plan for solid waste management, while questioning the delays in commissioning of waste processing plants in Deonar, Kanjurmarg and Mulund. It has also rapped the government for lack of solid waste management plans for Pune, Nagpur, and Thane.

‘Mumbai not free of open defecation’

Over 12 lakh people in Mumbai slums do not have access to septic toilets, the CAG has said. Picking holes in claims made by the BMC and the government over implementation of the Swachch Bharat Abhiyan, the CAG has said that the BMC constructed only 5,797 public toilets, or 29 per cent of the total target. The CAG has said that the “slow progress of the construction of toilet blocks” had meant that Mumbai was not free of open defecation.

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