Mayor Sandip Joshi on Friday suspended Dr Praveen Gantawar and his wife Dr Neelu Chimurkar for their alleged role in attendance irregularities at the Indira Gandhi Rugnalaya with immediate effect and ordered standing committee Vijay Zalke’s committee to inquire into the allegations levelled by corporators in the adjournment motion as the general body meeting continued for the fifth day. The issue was raised by BJP corporator Parineeti Fuke.
Terming the ruling of the mayor illegal, Municipal commissioner Tukaram Mundhe told TOI that he will not implement the decision to suspend Dr. Gantawar. To a query, he said he would discuss in detail after minutes of the meeting come. He has said in the house that Dr. Gantawar had already brought stay from the court against a complaint filed against him. His wife’s salary too was deducted for 81 days for remaining absent from the duty, the commissioner said.
Joshi also directed the civic administration to write to the state government to withdraw police complaint against Congress corporator Nitin Sathawane. Assistant municipal commissioner Vijay Humne had filed an FIR against Sathawane accusing him of stalling administration from carrying out work in the Satranjipura containment zone. On June 22, leader of opposition in NMC and Congress corporator Tanaji Wanve had served a show-cause notice to party corporator Nitin Sathawane after he submitted adjournment motion against Mundhe.
The mayor ordered the administration to withheld all promotions and additional charges given to NMC officials by Mundhe.
The administration was also directed to lodge an FIR against an unknown person after Congress corporator Harish Gawalbanshi informed the House that a message is being circulated on social media that he and BJP corporator Dayashankar Tiwari had insulted Sant Tukaram and hence they should be boycotted.
Disciplinary action was ordered against chief accounts and finance department officials for sitting on a file pertaining to the installation of LED lights on 7,000 street light poles for 135 days. A probe was also ordered against the promotion of municipal commissioner’s driver Pramod Hiwase as the civic chief’s assistant.
The mayor also directed the standing committee to inquire about allegations on violation of tender conditions in other four hospitals along with KT Nagar Covid care hospital. Joshi nominated additional municipal commissioner Sanjay Nipane on the committee.
Like the previous four sittings of the general body, the fifth day too had its share of theatrics. Congress corporators including the leader of opposition Tanaji Wanve, Praful Gudadhe, Sandip Sahara, Kamlesh Chowdhary staged a walkout claiming mayor’s inability to run the House smoothly. Their action was preceded by repeated disruption by MLC Pravin Datke while Mundhe stated in the House.
Continuing from where he left on Thursday, Tiwari slammed the civic chief for brazenly violating the MMC act. To his demand, NMC Secretary Ranjana Lade informed the House that municipal commissioner needs to take leave approval from the standing committee chairman. But Mundhe had ignored this rule too, Tiwari claimed. Mayor also found Mundhe and additional municipal commissioner Ram Joshi had not followed the service manually while proceeding on leave without informing the standing committee chairman.
Without structural audit of existing hospital buildings, Tiwari said following Mundhe’s directives, how the NMC carried out the civil works. Tiwari also alleged the civic body had wasted of taxpayers’ money for creating Covid care centers when he could have acquired private hospitals. Without reviewing NMC’s capacity, the NMC had strengthened five civic hospitals.
Superintending engineer Manoj Talewar informed the House that 817 works worth Rs426 crore have been stalled due to lockdown. He also drew attention of the House towards lack of manpower in NMC health department (medicines) resulting into deteriorating medical facilities in NMC-run hospitals. He also claimed that the civic body had violated tender conditions invited for strengthening five hospitals.
The discussion on adjournment motions, saw Wanve criticizing Mundhe for stalling development works. “The NMC financial condition is not so bad that the civic chief should stall even emergency works like repairing potholes, replacing damaged sewerage chambers,” he said. He also appreciated former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis for increasing state government grants to the NMC and said the civic chief should also try to bring in more funds from the state government.
Ruling party leader Sandip Jadhav said almost 58 corporators participated in the discussion on adjournment motions in the last five days and barring two corporators, all expressed anguish against Mundhe.
(With inputs from timesofindia)