The civic body has alleged that the NGO has failed to perform toilet repairs work within a stipulated period of time and were indulging in fraudulent practices. As per a RTI application filed by activist Anil Galgali it has been revealed that Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has blacklisted International Magsaysay award winner Joakim’s Arputham NGO Spark and his contractor company Spark Corporation’s subsidiary organisation for performing substandard toilet repair work. The Spark Group /Corporation has been slapped with a fine of Rs. 24 lakhs by the BMC.
“The reasons cited for blacklisting the NGO and other actions are incomplete toilet repairs during the defects liability period, poor quality and slow pace of work and overshooting completion deadlines,” said Galgali.
The BMC has alleged that the NGO had failed to get work done in stipulated time, gross underperformance, total disregard in following Engineering practices, insufficient staff, delays, and fraudulent practice.
The work order was awarded on 3rd January 2012 with notice to proceed it with time period of 30 months ending on 30 June 2014. With a further extension of 1 year, the contract finally expired on 30 June 2015. Therefore, total contract period was 42 months. The firm M/s SPARK & SNS had completed only 20 works with 8 works still in progress.
The civic body had intimated the Spark Group of blacklisting via its letter on the 26th February of 2016. Also on the 23rd March 2016 the civic body cancelled the registration number 4127 of the NGO and Spark Group of subsidiary companies bearing registration number 14884, and the contracts given therein, hence blacklisting the group for next five years. It also won’t assign any new work to the NGO and will withhold the payments.
In a letter addressed to the BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta, Galgali has lauded the initiative taken by the civic body. “The work allotment should be made at the ward level so that it can be completed in a time bound manner and provide relief to the residents. It should not be assigned to one NGO or Contractor,” said Galgali.
On the other hand, Arputham, 70, claimed the BMC action was “a deliberate and selective targeting” of his NGO’s work by certain vested elements and external lobbies of contractors. “Years ago, when the BMC floated tenders for building and upkeep of toilets in slums for three years, they received no response. Finally, they approached us and virtually begged us to take up the work given our expertise in slum development works,” Arputham said.
Now, Arputham — former President of National Slumdwellers Federation — said there are some contractors’ lobbies which want to bag similar works, because of which certain civic officials have resorted to selectively targeting his NGO.