Opposition senses scam in multi-crore deal by SDMC

Maintenance contract costs twice the price of machines

The opposition in the South Delhi Municipal Corporation is smelling a rat in the decision of the civic body to procure two super sucker machines meant to clean the drains in the city.

The proposal to buy the machines was cleared in the House meeting of SDMC on Wednesday. While the machines cost Rs. 9.02 crore, the annual maintenance contract provides for a maintenance charge which is nearly double the price of the machines at Rs 16.08 crore for a period of six years.

The decision has drawn the ire of the opposition Congress. Calling for a probe in the deal, the opposition leaders alleged that the maintenance fees are ridiculously high and the corporation must order a probe into the matter.

“How can the maintenance fee be nearly twice the price of the machine? It proves that there is some financial bungling. There are also discrepancies in the tendering process which has to be cleared,” said leader of the opposition, Farhad Suri.

The proposal was passed in the House meeting despite objections from the Congress arguing that the machines are urgently required to clean up the drains. The leader of opposition, however, said that he has registered his dissent asking the corporation to look into the matter.

The procurement of the two super-sucker machines was initiated way back in 2010 but was delayed due to some difficulties. The opposition leader highlighted that in 2010, the administrative approval for expense on the two machines was fixed at Rs 19.13 crore. The sum has been increased by a whopping six crore in a span of two years, Suri said.

The super sucker machines are used in de-silting the drains, which is a round-the-year operation carried out in preparation to monsoons. The unified MCD had two super sucker machines which have been distributed, after the trifurcation, among the North Corporation and the East Corporation, leaving out SDMC.

This year due to the lack of adequate machines to remove silt, the city was water-logged after every heavy shower leading to traffic jams.

Talking about the maintenance charges, corporation officials however said that payment to the contractor will be paid on a quarterly basis after completion of the work.

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