Probe sought into Rs8.96-cr fuel bill of civic body

Details of expenditure on each vehicle was not provided by MC authorities: RTI activist

Probe sought into Rs8.96-cr fuel bill of civic body

Harshraj Singh
Tribune News Service
Ludhiana, September 19

Raising questions over lack of transparency in fuel expenditure on Municipal Corporation (MC) vehicles, the Council of RTI Activists has sought a probe into the matter. According to information obtained under the RTI Act, it has come to light that the MC has spent Rs 8.96 crore on petrol and diesel for its vehicles from January 1, 2019, to December 31, 2019.

Questions raised in past too

Questions over consumption of fuel by MC vehicles were also raised in audit reports of previous years. In the audit report of 2016-17, objections were raised on consumption of fuel as a number of officials failed to provide details about consumption of fuel. As per the audit report, the officials concerned did not present the records and log books having information about fuel usage for the audit. Chances of misuse of fuel could not be ignored as per that report.

However, Rohit Sabharwal, president of the council, said the civic body had not provided any details about consumption of diesel and petrol by each government vehicle (under the MC) being used by senior officials and other staff of the corporation. Thus, he wanted that the matter should be probed as there is no transparency in the fuel expenditure.

“The information obtained under the RTI also revealed that the MC has spent Rs 3.12 crore on fuel on its vehicles from January 1, 2020, to May 31, 2020, as per its general cashbook. Around two-month period of the Covid pandemic is also included in these five months. However, there is no transparency. The MC should share details about expenditure occurred on each vehicle on its official website so that residents can know how huge money is being spent on fuel on vehicles every year,” Sabharwal said.

Questions over consumption of fuel by MC vehicles were also raised in audit reports of previous years. In the audit report of 2016-17, objections were raised on consumption of fuel as a number of officials failed to provide details about consumption of fuel. As per the audit report, the officials concerned did not present the records and log books having information about fuel usage for the audit. Chances of misuse of fuel could not be ignored as per that report.

Fuel is also used in machines and vehicles used for fogging. Earlier, a city-based NGO had raised questions that how the MC used “huge” quantity of fuel in each fogging machine when fogging was not being done in a proper manner in the city. They also complained to the Vigilance Department, seeking a probe in the matter. Still, there is no transparency.

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