PCMC chief assures quick action in cremation chamber purchase scam that happened during the NCP regime

Cyber Journal 24, July 10, 2017

By Nitten Gokhaley 

Considering the reputation of both parties, association with scams is nothing new for the Congress as well its natural ally NCP. For more than a decade, NCP had complete control over the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation. They were defeated during February civic polls this year. The party is out of power, but scams from their regime are still unearthing. The most recent one is gas crematorium chamber scam!

During the last week, PCMC commissioner Shravan Hardikar agreed that there were irregularities found in the purchase of CNG powered cremation chambers for crematoriums. These units that work on CNG were installed at Pimple Gurav, Pimple Saudagar, Pimpri Waghere, Wakad, and Dapodi few months before the PCMC civic polls. The tender process was followed but surprisingly, these gas powered units available in the market for 27 to 30 lakhs (per unit) were purchased for more than one crore each.

Back then, BJP Corporator Seema Savle, popularly known as PCMC’s ‘Anti-graft crusader’ and another party Corporator Asha Shendge had highlighted the possibility of a scam in purchasing these units. Both had also submitted relevant evidence to prove their point. Unwillingly, the ruling party had to form a committee to look into the same.

Committee formed to evaluate this deal included Joint Commissioner Dilip Gawde, Chief Accountant Rajesh Lande, Deputy Engineer Ayub Khan Pathan as its members.  Their 404 pages report indicated a scam, and the then Commissioner Dinesh Waghmare blacklisted the equipment suppliers- Ador Welding and J J Hotmixl.

Officials from the concerned department were given time to justify their decision to purchase these units. As they failed to offer a satisfactory reply, PMCM’s current Commissioner Shravan Herdkar has ordered a special inquiry against four officials from the concerned department.

Sources suggest that one former standing committee member from the NCP was possibly involved in the scam along with officials from Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation’s environment department.

Accounts Officer Kishor Shinge, Deputy Accountant Usha Thorat, Executive Engineer of Environment Department Sanjay Kulkarni, Deputy Engineer Manohar Jawarani, and Junior Engineer Vikas Ghare are some of the officials under the lens.

Experts from the College of Engineering Pune have been roped in to evaluate the equipment and assist the investigation. Officials have been asked to complete their investigation and file the charge sheet for the same within the next fifteen days.

While interacting with journalists about this scam, chairman of the PCMC Standing Committee, Seema Salve assured everyone that action will be taken against the guilty officials as well as politicians who robbed taxpayers’ money during the previous regime.

This is another big blow for the NCP that always portrayed PCMC as corruption free Municipal Corporation while under its rule for more than a decade. This scam is a new addition to the already existing list of scams like PCMC’s hearing aid scam, sewing machine scam, etc. that were exposed during the NCP’s rule.

Nitten is a consultant journalist, and has worked with renowned newspapers, news agency in India. If you are looking for desktop journalist, writer, you can email Nitten- nittengokhaley24@gmail.com

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