Sena seeks probe into PCMC ‘Ecoman scam’

The Pimpri-Chinchwad Shiv Sena has alleged that a machine called 'Ecoman' (used for converting food-waste to compost) has gone "missing" from the ward of a former mayor. The Sena has also alleged that another machine has been left to rust in yet another former mayor's ward. Both machines were worth Rs Rs 20 lakh.

In a letter to Municipal Commissioner Dr Shrikar Pardeshi, the Shiv Sena pointed out that the machines were installed in former mayors Yogesh Behl and Mangala Kadam's wards. "One of the machines has disappeared and another is gathering dust and has become unusable. Shockingly, the civic medical department is not even aware of the whereabouts of one of the machines," said Sena corporator Seema Savale, demanding a probe into what she termed the "Ecoman scam".

Savale said: "In order to resolve the critical problem of wet garbage disposal, PCMC had purchased two machines that could convert wet garbage into compost. Former mayor Yogesh Behl and a retired medical officer had given appreciation letters to the contractor stating that the machines that were installed at their residences processed all the food waste well and converted to compost without any noise and smell. They also said the compost was also of very good quality and used in their garden.

Considering these recommendations, the PCMC purchased one Ecoman machine of 30 kg capacity — ideal for 30 families — worth Rs 8.5 lakh and another of 50 kg capacity (for 50 families) worth Rs 12 lakh. The 50-kg machine purchased from PCMC funds was installed in Yogesh Behl's ward in Vallabhnagar while the 30-kg machine was installed in Mangala Kadam's ward at Sai Mangal Coop Society, Sambhajinagar.

Savale filed an RTI application to the health department of PCMC to learn about the performance and utility of these machines. "But the information was not given to me for almost two months as the file of the said case was not traceable. After repeated follow-ups, the files were given to me. As I was curious and enthusiastic about the idea of conversion of wet garbage to compost, I decided to visit the societies where the machines were installed. The machine that was supposedly installed at Vallabhnagar was not there while the machine installed at Sambhajinagar was not working. While interacting with the residents, I found that most were not aware of the machine while some said the machine worked only for a month," she said.

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