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HIGH COURT LASHES OUT AT NMMC COMMISSIONER VIJAY NAHATA IN HOLDING POND CASE – ORDERS COMMISSIONER TO RECOVER WASTED PUBLIC FUNDS FROM RESPONSIBLE OFFICIALS

holding-pond-2So we all know that the High Court had summoned NMMC Commissioner Vijay Nahata to court in the illegal garden within Vashi’s holding pond case. Dy. Editor Sana Warsia tells us what transpired within the court when the Commissioner was present for the second hearing of the case and how the trouble for the NMMC administration in the case is far from over. NMMC Commissioner Vijay Nahata was in the direct line of fire of the Mumbai High Court during the second day of the hearing of the “Illegal Garden at Vashi Holding Pond” case. In its order the High Court has stated and I quote, “the Municipal Corporation has realized the mistake of developing the garden inside the holding pond at Vashi and the Municipal Commissioner will take the steps to remove the garden and debris from the holding pond and get the pond restored.” We bring to you what transpired within the court premises when the case came for hearing. * COURT ASKS NMMC COMMISSIONER WHY IT TOOK SO LONG TO REMOVE THE GARDEN? The Mumbai High Court took up Sandeep Thakur’s petition first thing in the morning when the court proceedings began. J N Patel – acting Chief Justice of the Mumbai High Court asked the NMMC lawyer whether the Commissioner was present and then the Commissioner came forward. The bench then questioned the lawyer why did it take so long to remove the illegal garden. * NMMC TELLS COURT HOLDING POND WILL BE RESTORED WITHIN A WEEK’S TIME The NMMC then showed the photographs they took while razing down the garden and submitted their affidavit stating that work has started and within a week’s time it will be completed. * “WE MADE A MISTAKE” ADMITS NMMC After seeing the photographs the court asked NMMC why it was not done earlier. To which NMMC replied that since many people were involved it took time but they realized there mistake and are correcting it. The NMMC lawyer then appealed that the petition be disposed off. * COURT SETS ASIDE NMMC’S APPEAL TO DISPOSE THE PETITION Surprisingly the bench said that they are not inclined to dispose the petition at this stage. The court ordered the commissioner to submit an affidavit stating that the work has been completed and holding pond restored to original capacity. The court also demanded an explanation from NMMC as to why the expenses of the garden and the debris and removal, should not be recovered from the concerned officials because they had no business developing a garden in a holing pond. * COURT TERMS COMMISSIONER’S JUSTIFICATION FOR BUILDING ILLEGAL GARDEN ON “PUBLIC DEMAND” AS “ABSURD” The court ordered NMMC Commissioner Vijay Nahata to find out who is responsible for building the illegal garden. When NMMC tried to explain that it was on the public demand, Sandeep Thakur countered the justification informing the court about the garden right across the road at Vashi’s holding pond. On this; the court termed NMMC’s explanation as “absurd” saying that NMMC cannot build an illegal garden just because people demanded it. * COURT AKS COMMISSIONER VIJAY NAHATA TO ANSWER WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR WASTING PUBLIC FUNDS LIKE THIS? The Mumbai High Court asked why the public funds wasted in making the illegal garden not be recovered from the officers. The court said and I quote, “The court would like to know who took the decision to develop the garden inside the holding pond and the Municipal Commissioner should recover the money already spent on developing the garden and which will now be spent on restitution of the pond as the money spent is out of the Municipal Fund which belongs to the tax payers, otherwise the Commissioner would be personally responsible in the matter,” unquote. The court has ordered the Commissioner to explain this during the next hearing on July 20. Looks like the trouble for the Commissioner Vijay Nahata for failing to remove the illegal garden is far from over. Some officials of NMMC administration might even be suspended in the case or the Commissioner himself can be held responsible for wasting public funds like this. Whatever it is, hopefully the case will be a lesion to NMMC Commissioner Vijay Nahata and his officials who continue to demonstrate similar negligence in other issues of public interest in the city. With cameraperson Abhay Prasad, Sana Warsia for NMTV News.

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