Home Dehradun Scam surfaces in Doon Nagar Nigam

Scam surfaces in Doon Nagar Nigam

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By ARUN PRATAP SINGH
DEHRADUN, 6 Jan: A major scam  has surfaced, related to the tenure of the elected Board of the Dehradun Municipal Corporation (Nagar Nigam). It is about the payment of wages and honorariums to sanitation workers engaged by the Municipal Corporators in their respective wards. Sources claim that around 1,000 sanitation workers were recruited through the councillor committee to improve the sanitation in the city. A minimum of five and a maximum of 16 employees were hired in each ward and every sanitation worker was supposed to get an honorarium of Rs 15, 000 per month. It turns out that many of the corporators in collaboration of sanitation supervisors and other Municipal Corporation employees were hiring lesser number of sanitation workers but were drawing the wages for maximum number of workers.
In several cases, it turns out that though the sanitation workers were supposed to be paid at the rate of Rs 15,000 per month each, in reality, they were being paid much less. In a large number of cases, the sanitation workers registered with the Nigam were not hired but in their place, some other workers were hired in the wards and paid much lesser than the amount mentioned in  the documents.
This irregularity has surfaced after the dissolution of the board on 2 December, when a review was conducted and an attempt was made to set up a new sanitation system. During this process, complaints were received about irregularities in the salaries and Provident Fund, etc of the sanitation workers. As a result, it was decided to transfer the salaries directly to the workers’ bank accounts. For this, Aadhaar cards and bank account numbers of each worker was sought from the sanitation workers registered with the Nigam. However, almost half of the workers could not be traced or were found missing and in many cases, some other workers were found working in place of the registered workers.
The Municipal Health Officer has informed that once the irregularities were revealed, physical verification of all the wards is being done and till now physical verification of employees has been done in 75 wards. He admitted that irregularities have come to light in many wards. About Rs 1.5 crore is paid every month in the name of monthly wages to the sanitation workers engaged in the cleaning system and an amount of Rs 18 crore is spent in one year. In past 5 years, a total of Rs 90 crore has been paid in this regard. It is yet to be determined how much of this amount has genuinely reached the registered workers. So far, the Municipal Commissioner has not received the report regarding the verification process. Though the municipal authorities claim that legal action will be taken against the guilty, it remains to be seen if any senior corporation employee will be penalised for this irregularity. Sources claim that some of the municipal corporators were drawing the salary of 10 to 15 sanitation workers while in reality, they had hired only a few.
The bigger question is why and how the Municipal Corporation had agreed to pay wages in cash to the sanitation workers instead of depositing the honorarium directly in the bank accounts of the workers concerned which left a big scope for such a manipulation which has now surfaced.