MARGAO: In a unique way of highlighting the misappropriation of public funds in the guise of beautification works undertaken by the Margao Municipal Council, Shadow Council along with citizens, called for the appointment of security guard’s to prevent theft of the “very costly” installations provided to the Gomant Vidya Niketan compound wall as part of the beautification work.
SCM Convener Savio Coutinho said that with great sorrow and disappointment we have to bring to the notice of all, how public funds are misappropriated in the guise of beautification of the frontage of this 111 year old, most premiere institution, THE GOMANT VIDYA NIKETAN.
Giving details of the beautification project of the Council, Coutinho stated that the Gomant Vidya Niketan had conveyed it’s NOC for the beautification of the front compound wall. In addition to the GVN, some other parties had also conveyed their NOC’s for similar beautification works in Comba area.
Following the grant of NOC’s, the Margao Municipal Council tendered a work titled “Beautification work near Gomant Vidya Niketan, wall next to Virginkar garage and Clock tower opposite Vinayak Sambari house at Comba in ward no.12”, for an estimated cost of 19,90,562/-.
“This work has been inaugurated as completed, by MLA of Margao Digamber Kamat on 5th September 2023, on the occasion of the Teacher’s Day. Prior to the Inauguration we had called upon the Margao MLA to inspect the beautification works and ascertain for himself if the works executed were in confirmation to the work schedule of the contract. Despite of this call, the beautification work was inaugurated, sending an unfortunate message on Teachers Day, that act’s of corruption are meant to be ignored. With this type of mass siphoning of public funds in every work executed in Margao, how can we expect to witness any positive changes in Margao?,” questions Coutinho.
All these scams and misappropriation of public funds by various departments in Margao have the strong backing of the Margao MLA, and these beneficiaries later turn to be his sources of election funding, Coutinho charged.
As part of the beautification tender, various items of work, were proposed to be undertaken for the beautification of the GVN compound. The Total estimated cost for all the items connected to GVN being Rs. 10,81,338/-. This happens to be 54% of the estimated cost of the entire beautification work which was tendered.
If one has a look at the list of work items in the work schedule, and compare the same with the work actually executed at the 3 locations, the gross violations have taken place would be realized.
The estimates for this project and another 3 projects were prepared by private agencies, and the Municipal engineers were made to sign the estimates as if prepared by MMC engineers, Mr. Coutinho revealed, while demanding for an inquiry, and recovery of losses to the Council.
While as per item no. 9 Stainless Steel railing was supposed to be provided, but what has been provided on site is mild steel railings. Item No. 10 as per the work schedule speaks of providing 60 numbers Lazer cut musical notes, for Rs.5180/- each, what you find on site is miniature musical notes, though larger in number, the proportionate rate per note would be an exorbitant amount of Rs.1600/- per piece.
The major 440 volt shock is felt in item no. 14, which speaks of providing 4 nos musical installations, worth a whopping amount of Rs. 3,10,000/-. However only two musical instruments (saxophone and Guitar), fixed on the main/front entrance gate and 3,10,000/- is paid towards the same.
Same is the case of the beautification work of a private compound wall in Comba, a part of the same tender, where Mr. Digamber Kamat Inaugurated this work. Several items of work’s are listed in the work schedule, and what is found to be executed is simple whitewash of the existing compound wall, and 6 fabricated window grills fixed on the wall.
The magnitude of corruption in Margao is so high and alarming, that there is an actual need for a Lok Andolan at this point of time. Sadly though, such an Andolan is unlikely to happen in Margao for certain prevalent reasons, Tiatrist Mr. Wilson Mazarello(Wilmix) said, as he called for the beautification of his private compound walls for which he would grant the required NOC he said.
Former banker and columnist Mr. Jose Maria Miranda said that the Gomant Vidya Niketan is a reputed organization and very well capable of beautifying its premises on it’s own, then what made the Council spend public funds on this work he questioned.
Dinesh Kakodkar, a fabricator by profession stated that being in the field for 35 years, he can very easily say that the work that is executed, doesn’t match up with the amounts paid at all he said. For every 100 rupees we spend we pay 18 rupees towards GST, and it is so frustrating to see taxpayers money being looted like this he said.