[Protesting against rampant corruption in Malegaon Municipal Corporation, Janata Dal (S) activists are sitting on a fast-unto-death from December 14, 2015 (Photo: ummid.com)]
Malegaon: The Malegaon Municipal Corporation (MMC) may be struggling to pay the perks and salaries of its staff, but has nevertheless leased prime properties to Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL) on throw away rates, prompting the Chief Auditor to recommend immediate cancellation of the agreement.
The dubious deal between the Malegaon Municipal Corporation (MMC) and Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL) to install its Ground Based Telecom Mast for 4G at 75 locations in Malegaon city limit has also provided fodder to the opposition parties to stage protest against the ruling group ahead of the civic elections.
The Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL), a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), had on December 09, 2013 approached the Malegaon Municipal Corporation (MMC) with a request to lease for 30 years lands at 75 locations in the city limit for installations of its Ground Based Telecom Mast for 4G.
In response to this offer, the Malegaon Municipal Corporation (MMC) General Body passed a resolution (No. 105) on September 07, 2013 directing the concerned department to get the proposal approved from the local Standing Committee.
The Standing Committee in turn in a meeting called on November 02, 2013 passed resolutions (No. 154, 155, 156 and 157), leasing out 29 locations for a total annual rent of Rs.47,736/-, 11 locations for Rs.18,108/- per annum rent, 21 locations for Rs.34,568/- annual rent and 14 locations for a meager annual rent of Rs.23,046/- for 30 years, according to the records obtained from the Malegaon corporation.
The standing committee in its resolution passed on November 02, 2013 also recommended increasing every year 05% of the above decided rentals.
Consequently, the Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL) paid Rs.01,23,458/- to the Malegaon Municipal Corporation (MMC) as rent of the 75 sites for the year 2014-15, the corporation records showed.
As an average this amount comes out to around Rs.1,646/- annual rent per location and a meager Rs.137/- per month rent for one site.
“This is a huge financial loss for the Malegaon Municipal Corporation (MMC). For, the decided rent is far less than the current market rate which is a minimum Rs.25,000/- per month for a location”, Government Auditor Atul Gaekwad observed in his report signed on October 29, 2015.
In his report, Atul Gaekwad also found other irregularities in the agreement and hence recommended immediate cancellation of the agreement.
The revelations came to light at a time when the Municipal teachers and pensioners are without their salaries and pensions for months now. Every time they approach the civic body seeking release of their salaries, the authorities cite poor financial condition for non-payment.
Interestingly, the Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL) in its proposal had also said it is ready to offer rentals at the rate of 3-6% of circle rates as an annual rent per site, and also offered to pay 10 years advance rent.
The Malegaon Municipal Corporation (MMC) however neither demanded from the Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL) the circle rates nor the 10 years rent in advance the company had offered to pay.
“The leniency and kindness the Malegaon Municipal Corporation (MMC) has shown to the Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL) cannot be without reasons", Mustaqeem Dignity, General Secretary of Janata Dal (S) who is sitting with 09 others on hunger strike outside the Malegaon corporation building, said while talking to ummid.com.
"We want the civic body to immediately cancel the deal, probe the entire matter and punish the persons responsible for the huge financial loss”, he said, adding, “We will continue our fast-unto-death until our demands are met."
Meanwhile, Municipal Commissioner Kishore Borde agreed there are some 'irregularities' in the agreement but declined to comment further.
"There is a dispute on this matter and a probe is on. Unless the matter is investigated, I cannot comment", he said while talking to ummid.com.