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Shadow Council for Margao Alleges Misutilization of MPLAD Funds for Margao Constituency Development



Margao, June 15: The Shadow Council for Margao (SCM) has uncovered another case of fraudulent work in the Margao Constituency, involving the misutilization of MPLAD (Member of Parliament Local Area Development) funds. SCM Convener and former Chairperson of MMC, Mr. Savio Coutinho, brought this matter to light during a media address.

According to Mr. Coutinho, a grand inauguration ceremony was held on May 3rd, 2023, for a children’s park in Malbhat, Margao. However, upon visiting the park, it was found to be in a deplorable state. RTI (Right to Information) data obtained from the executing agency, PWD Division VIII, revealed that the park’s development work was carried out through two different tenders. The first tender, titled “Construction of Children’s Park near Apollo Hospital at Malbhat,” was estimated to cost Rs. 24,83,148, while the second tender, titled “Construction of Children’s Park near Apollo Hospital at Malbhat (Phase II),” had an estimated cost of Rs. 26,19,183.

The first tender was awarded to Shri. Jaganath S. Naik, and the second tender was awarded to H. V. Borkar. Payments for the first tender were cleared through two bills amounting to Rs. 20,48,642, while payments for the second tender were cleared through two bills amounting to Rs. 23,46,788.

Mr. Coutinho highlighted several instances of misappropriation in the project. The actual park area developed was significantly smaller than the planned area, resulting in substantial savings. However, these savings were allegedly used for additional work items not included in the original plan. Furthermore, the quality of the floor mat provided quickly deteriorated, despite being newly laid during the inauguration.

Additionally, several children’s play items were missing from the park, even though payment for these items had been made according to the bills.

Regarding the second tender, Mr. Coutinho expressed doubt about the adherence to the work schedule. The size of the Multi Play Fun System provided was found to be smaller than specified, raising concerns about its value in relation to the estimated cost of Rs. 26 lakhs.

Mr. Coutinho also questioned the four-year delay in inaugurating the completed work, as per the bills. He revealed an extension of the time limit issued to the contractor for the first tender, which was suspiciously dated May 26, 2023, despite the bills being paid four years earlier. This discrepancy raises questions about the legitimacy of the contract and the subsequent payments made.

When asked about the responsibility of local MLA Digamber Kamat, Mr. Coutinho sarcastically remarked that the MLA’s role seemed limited to participating in the commencement and completion/inauguration ceremonies, with ignorance claimed for anything that occurs in between.

SCM strongly condemned the misappropriation of public funds and demanded a thorough investigation into both contracts. The SCM emphasized that such malpractices hinder credible development in Margao, despite the claims of significant investments in the area.