Cyber Journal 24, Sep 27, 2015
Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad’s public transport body always manages to be under limelight because of its reckless drivers and number of people that its buses kill in road accidents each month. But here is something that indicates possible scam worth crores of tax payers’ money.
Cyber Journal24’s Nitten Gokhaley recently interacted with two PMPML bus drivers, and they revealed some shocking facts. They told our journalist that PMPML had purchased certain new buses (chassis) in 2010-2011 under JNNURM with central government’s funds. Out of these buses, around 10 buses were directly sold to third parties by PMPML officials from Pune instead of allotting them to bus depot!
One of the drivers also said that authorities at PMPML have removed chassis number and engine number from some of their buses purchased with JNNURM funds to create confusion if audit takes place.
This does not sound weird because travelers in PMPML buses can easily point out that certain parts, including seats, from some new PMPML buses are replaced with old ones.
The concerned driver pointed out that central government’s transport ministry had sent some officials to inspect all the buses purchased under JNNURM. But even they were forced to go back without inspection in 2011. Times of India had reported this story about central government’s officials going back without inspection.
The same newspaper had also published another story in 2013 that highlighted possible corruption in PMPML’s financial reports. The story had pointed out that PMPML did not share its financial stats even with the union ministry of road transport and highways.
Drivers who interacted with CJ 24 also highlighted the point that people involved in the scam are associated with country’s oldest party that is ruling the Pune Municipal Corporation since many years.
Nitten Gokhaley contacted Pune’s guardian minister Girish Bapat’s office several times to discuss this issue. But the minister’s representatives did not respond.
Pl note: The names of PMPML’s employees who interacted with our journalist cannot be disclosed due to security reasons.
PMPML ticket rates hiked several times even after diesel price cut
IAS officer Shrikar Pardeshi is often hailed by certain groups and journalists for his steps taken to improve the city’s public transport. People who travel by PMPML on a daily basis pointed out that Mr. Pardeshi improved the body’s financial performance by simply doubling the prices of tickets even when the country witnessed drop in diesel prices since last one year. Commuters also claim that the public transport has not improved under Mr. Pardeshi as per claims made by certain news reports. Even after doubling ticket rates, PMPML claims to be in loss every month.
MNS had agitated against hike in ticket prices, and they urged people to not to pay more than Rs.5 to travel anywhere. But this agitation was withdrawn within few days, and even MNS did not approach central government, PMO, or courts to report possible corruption.
Bus management is so pathetic that four to five buses of the same route can be seen plying right behind one another. Some buses do not stop on bus stops and the management does nothing in spite of sufficient CCTV footage that shows buses are not stopping to pick up passengers waiting on the bus stop.
Most of the bus conductors are rude, and drivers are reckless. Some of PMPML drivers have as many as seven death- due- to-rash- driving cases, but are still employed by the public transport body, perhaps, because of their political links.
Even the Pune Traffic Police has agreed that most of the PMPML (Pune) drivers do not follow traffic rules. PMPML’s staff members openly tell commuters that their priority is not picking up maximum passengers, but it is just to keep buses plying on or before their timing.
Wonder why the city activists, commuter-groups, local Marathi media, and opposition parties are not speaking about this matter in spite of sufficient corruption evidence available in public domain.
Team Cyber Journal 24 will soon approach the union ministry of road transport and highways with this report.
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