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NMMT’s Ashok Leyland scam exposes misuse of crores of public funds

Scams are not new to NMMC but this one is a new scam and it is being reported from NMMC’s public sector transport undertaking NMMT. It has come to light that a major manufacturing defect in 120 CNG buses purchased from Ashok Leyland, with JNNURM funds; NMMT is facing a loss of over Rs. 20 lacs every day. And instead of taking action against the contractor, NMMT continues to favor the contractor Ashok Leyland because instead of taking action against them, they are all set to buy more buses from the same contractor.

NMMT is always ridden with controversies – sometimes it’s to do with employees, sometimes pathetic services, sometimes contract labors and sometimes negligent attitude of drivers and conductors. But this time the reports coming from NMMT are not of a controversy but a scam – that is now being termed as the NMMT Ashok Leyland manufacturing defect scam. It was in 2010, that with much fanfare NMMT bought 120 CNG buses from Ashok Leyland and claimed that it would now render services to commuters at par with the best. However, the claims fell flat on its face as NMMT is facing an additional burden of around Rs. 60 lacs in rectifying the manufacturing defects in these buses. In the words of the NMMT manager himself, 60 CNG buses have engine defect, 45 have gear defect and 20 have other manufacturing defects.

The consequences of this are that NMMT is losing Crores of public taxes. According to sources, the bad condition of roads, potholes and rash driving by drivers have aggravated the manufacturing defects in the CNG buses. The situation has worsened so much that at the NMMT depot at Turbhe, its not the older buses but the new CNG buses that are continuously under repair. The condition of buses are so dire that the air suspension is most buses that should have had a life of 10 years have defected within a few months of running on roads. Everyday 20 buses lie wasted inside NMMT bus depot causing a loss of over Rs. 20 lacs everyday ! What comes as a shock is that NMMT administration is taking all the loss rather casually. Many believed that JNNURM funds would improve services of NMMT but due to the mistake of the contractor, it is proving to be a loss deal. It also exposes how contractors are influencing NMMT and perhaps that is why instead of taking action for the major manufacturing defects, all NMMT has done so far is given a mere warning to Ashok Leyland.

The bigger shock is that forget taking action, NMMT has floated tender for buying new buses and has even made up its mind of buying it from Ashok Leyland. It’s a wonder how the Manager says that they will buy the buses from Ashok Leyland even before the contractors have bid for the tender. Looks like another hand is glove nexus of administration and contractor – another scam that has exposed misuse of Crores of public funds and JNNURM grants. With cameraperson Vinayak Dalvi, Archana Tripathi for NMTV News.

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