Mysuru: After the free phone controversy that rocked Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) where the State Government disconnected BSNL mobile connections of over 200 users including Corporators and officers for gross misuse, another major row of car rentals has hit the civic body.
It has now come to light that the MCC is paying crores of rupees as rent to the cars that have been given to Standing Committee Chairmen and the Leader of the Opposition. In all, nine cars have been taken on rent from private car rental agencies and have been given to the Leader of Opposition and the Standing Committee Chairmen and the MCC is paying an annual rent of Rs. 2 to 2.5 crore form these cars.
Hiring cars on rent is a normal practice in the MCC and according to sources, 80 percent of the cars used by MCC are rented. The cars are hired from travel agencies and car rental services and rates are fixed per kilometre and the money is paid on monthly basis. This car rental system is being practiced at the MCC since the last eight years.
As per the Karnataka Municipal Act, cars can be rented by a section of officers and other authorities as the government cannot provide vehicles to all of them. “But here in MCC, Chairmen of Standing Committees and the Leader of Opposition are using such rented cars though there is no provision in the Municipal Act,” said Corporator Nandeesh Preetham who has raised the issue. He added that since eight years this issue has not come to light and the MCC has been paying Rs. 18 to 20 lakh as car rent per month for just nine cars.
Nandeesh Preetham, himself the Chairman of City and Town Planning Standing Committee, has said that he has surrendered his car as the misuse has come to light now. “I have written a letter to Mayor (the copy of which is with Star of Mysore) and have surrendered my car as there is no provision for a Standing Committee Chairman to avail the facility of a rented car,” he said.
He has also stated that he was ready to return the rental amount of the car to MCC treasury from 05.02.2017 to 02.05.2017, the days he used the vehicle. He has demanded that all the other vehicles given to Standing Committee Chairmen and the Leader of the Opposition be withdrawn.
Sources said that there is no actual monitoring of the cars and the rental agencies. “Car rental firms can even be owned by the relatives of the person who is using the vehicles and bills can easily be passed in favour of the car rental firm,” sources added.