NMTV News had earlier brought to you a report on NMMC developed an illegal garden on an area of 15 hectares within a holding pond at Vashi. Despite the Commissioner ordering his Engineering Dept to remove the garden, the civic chief’s sub ordinate continued to ignore the matter. Now CIDCO too has written to NMMC reminding them that the holding ponds are still CIDCO’s property and has asked NMMC to remove the illegal garden built inside the holding pond on priority. It may be recalled that NMTV News had aired a report on April 4 2009 on how NMMC had illegally developed a garden on an area of 15 hectares within the holding pond at Sector 10A Vashi. Despite the significance of this holding pond, a few years ago, the corporators-officials nexus plaguing NMMC got to work and floated a plan to fill a portion of the holding pond and convert it into a garden. A project floated for reasons not hard to comprehend. Over the last few years, NMMC has spent lacs of the tax payer’s money to fill up 85 000 sq. ft. of this holding pond and develop thereon a garden admeasuring 30000 sq. ft. As a result the capacity of the holding pond has dangerously reduced while the threat of flooding to the surrounding sectors has increased tremendously. This came to light through a RTI filed by social activist Sandeep Thakur. His RTI compelled NMMC to conduct a departmental investigation in the matter. The Engineering Dept of NMMC in their final letter to the Commissioner after the enquiry confirmed to the Commissioner, in writing, that indeed the garden built by NMMC within the holding pond was illegal and in violation of the agreement with CIDCO. It recommended the removal of the garden. Based on this, the Commissioner ordered that the garden be removed. But it’s been nearly four months and the officials of NMMC are showing reluctance in executing the Commissioner’s order. Now CIDCO has intervened in the matter asking NMMC to remove the illegal garden inside the holding pond. Sandeep Thakur says that holding ponds are CIDCO’s property and NMMC are only caretakers. He informed that in its letter CIDCO Manager Town Services V S Marathe has written to Commissioner Vijay Nahata reminding this to him and asking the Commissioner to remove the illegal garden on top priority. He added that despite the Commissioner giving an order on record, his own HODs are not executing it. And the reason for delay in execution of order is not surprising – no department in NMMC wants to take responsibility of following their Chief’s orders. Sandeep Thakur says that if the orders of NMMC Commissioner and CIDCO Managing Director are not being followed then what will ordinary citizens do. Unless, the public does not make irresponsible corporators accountable in the next municipal elections and demand action against the erring municipal officials, squandering public taxes in such a horrendous manner will continue to plague the civic system. With cameraperson Abhay Prasad, Zeba Warsia for NMTV News.
March 12, 2018