Inquiry panel recommends looking for an alternative service provider, but ignores corruption charges
After hanging fire for a whole year, the much awaited inquiry committee report on Nagpur’s Star Bus Service was tabled in the city municipal corporation on November 30. The 13-member committee constituted by the civic body, headed by senior BJP corporator Anil Sole, has recommended cancellation of agreement with the present bus service operator, Vansh Nimay Infraprojects, and look for an alternative service provider.
The committee in its report rapped NMC for not monitoring the bus service being provided by the private contractor. It also put Vansh Nimay in the dock for several irregularities and passing on its responsibilities to the civic body.
The report not only condemned NMC for not providing land for parking, maintenance of buses and construction of bus queue shelters where none exist, but also pulled up Vansh Nimay for not signing an agreement with the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) for parking space.
As a consequence of this negligence, the report said, large numbers of buses are being parked on the main roads in Sitabuldi area in the city. Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan’s promise to provide parking space in the Morbhawan Bus Stand of MSRTC, a year back, has also not materialized, it said.
The report also condemned the bad state of maintenance of the bus fleet. Many buses had broken windows, non-working digital signs and unhygienic conditions in the passenger area.
Rs 40 crore scam?
The report, however, completely ignored allegations of corruption worth Rs 40 crore in the various processes relating to awarding of contract and purchase of buses under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), saying the corporator Raman Paigwar, who had made a complaint in this regard, had failed to provide relevant documents. This omission angered opposition members, and Paigwar said that not only had he submitted 65 pages of documents, but even the accountant general of Maharashtra had said that Rs 65 lakh excess money was paid by NMC while purchasing 60 buses.
Some of the corporators burnt copies of the report outside the town hall. A day later, former mayor and leader of opposition Vikas Thakre threatened to file a complaint with the state and central governments and the Anti Corruption Bureau over the alleged corruption and losses to NMC in running of the bus service.
The report has been handed over to the municipal commissioner for administrative decision.