Corporators allege irregularities in Pushkaram-related works

Allegations of corruption in the Krishna Pushkaram works done in Vijayawada city at a cost of nearly ₹ 127 crore were a subject of intense debate in the VMC general body meeting on Friday.

A few TDP corporators led by Muppa Venkateswara Rao (42nd division) and YSR Congress floor leader B.N. Punya Seela contended that a substantial chunk of the expenditure incurred by the VMC was wasteful in the sense that many works and services were overpriced.

The cost of labour component has been blown up, which is reflected in the huge gap between the number of workers claimed to be deployed at the Pushkar Ghats and the actual size of the workforce.

Mr. Venkateswara Rao said a statement from the VMC officials that a sum of roughly ₹ 18 crore was spent on 23,000-plus workers involved in pilgrim amenities was a clear case of fraud.

The number of workers who rendered their services was far fewer than what was accounted for. This is to be probed.

A sum of ₹ 50 lakh was stated as disbursed towards hiring charges on vehicles that transported food packets, drinking water sachets and other such materials.

Mayor K. Sridhar said an inquiry would be conducted as the VMC could not afford to waste even a single rupee that belongs to the exchequer.

Replying to the charges of corruption, Municipal Commissioner G. Veerapandian said the government had sanctioned works costing about ₹ 194 crore but only ₹ 126 crore was spent.

“Each one of the 266 works, with the exception of four or five works costing up to ₹ 3 lakh that were given on a nomination basis, has been awarded through tenders or e-procurement. Committees specially constituted for the purpose ensured that there was no irregularity in box tenders,” he asserted

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