The BMC Standing Committee on Wednesday held back proposals to appoint lifeguards on six city beaches as the company finalised for the work is linked to a tainted firm. The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) had blacklisted the second company for defaulting on rent and filed a first information report against it, alleging theft. The Hindu on Tuesday reported the fire brigade’s decision to appoint an agency to deploy 93 lifeguards on beaches. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had finalised M/s Drushti Life Saving Pvt. Ltd. for all six beaches as it was the only bidder. Work is to be allotted for the next three years, and the guards will work in two shifts. The corporation will be spending nearly Rs. 13 crore on procuring the guards.
The proposal came up before the Standing Committee on Wednesday, where it met with resistance. Members alleged that Drushti Life Saving Pvt. Ltd. has links to Drushti Adventure Sports Pvt. Ltd., the blacklisted company. Bharatiya Janata Party corporator Prabhakar Shinde said, “Even if the two companies are separate on paper, it is the same company that duped MTDC of nearly Rs. 3 crore in rent. Its cheques were dishonoured. What’s more, when MTDC sealed its premises, it tried to steal boats from there. There has been an FIR,” Mr. Shinde said.
“Both companies have the same email address registered. Their directors are brothers. The company has defaulted in crores and has allegations of theft against it. Why should we give it a contract?” asked leader of the Opposition Ravi Raja.
Members also demanded to know why social service organisations and the Kolis, who save people in times of emergency, are not being given a chance as they are ‘sons of the soil’. However, tender conditions require the bidding company to have a turnover of Rs. 1 crore.
After the discussion, Standing Committee chairman Yashwant Jadhav asked the fire brigade to submit a written explanation and deferred the proposal till then.
Chief Fire Officer Prabhat Rahangdale said, “The company has not been blacklisted by the BMC. In fact, a different company has been blacklisted by the MTDC. They are separate entities. According to the rules, it is allowed to bid.” The fire brigade has asked the company to submit an undertaking that no such action has been taken against it.