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Tender mafia's domination in MCD continues

By Our Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI, JAN. 2. The arrest of four members of the notorious Krishan Pehalwan gang outside the office of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi by Delhi Police last week has once again exposed the deep-rooted presence of the tender mafia in the civic body.

The revelations by the police that these gang members were collecting protection money from the contractors has "proved beyond doubt" that people from the underworld and criminals continue to have a major say in almost all tenders being issued by the civic body, a senior MCD official said.

The MCD is believed to have sought details of the interrogation of the Krishan Pehalwan Gang members and the modus operandi of these people. Officials said that despite the best of efforts of the Municipal Commissioner, Rakesh Mehta, the scenario was depressing as the tender mafia continues to have its hold over the contracts.

For the past two years, Mr. Mehta has been trying to introduce on-line tendering system and mandatory quality test by an independent testing agency. "However, because of the strong nexus between engineers, politicians and contractors, it is the tender mafia which now decides which contractors should get a particular contract," officials said.

As police investigations have revealed, the tender mafia, whose leaders have divided the MCD into their own separate areas of influence, force the contractor to pay at least 30 per cent of the contract amount to them in lieu of the contract they get. "It is called protection money," officials said.

Insiders in the MCD said so strong was the dominance of tender mafia that new contractors were not being allowed to enter the civic body. "Before the tenders are filled, it is the people from the underworld who decide which contractor would get the tender," the official said.

Because of the continued presence of tender mafia and the accompanying unholy nexus of engineers, politicians and contractors, it is the quality of work that suffers the most in the MCD.

"There are innumerable examples in which works are executed only in file and the payment is made to the contractor," the official said. The MCD auditor exposes large number of such cases of false payment every year.

A MCD contractor, who was threatened by a member of the same gang last year, said: "A contractors has no other option but not to do the work as he has to pass on a portion of the contract amount to the tender mafia. The day MCD gets rid of tender mafia, the quality of work in the MCD would improve automatically," he said.

It is learnt that a group of MCD contractors had recently met Mr. Mehta and urged him to ensure that the on-line tendering system and quality testing was introduced in the civic body at the earliest.

"Politicians and MCD engineers are purposely not letting this happen, because of their vested interest with the tender mafia," another contractor from South Delhi said.

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