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HISTORIC COURT ORDER FORCES OFFICIALS AND CORPORATORS TO PAY FROM THEIR POCKETS FOR CRIMINAL WASTAGE OF PUBLIC FUNDS

holding-pond-gardenSo we all know that the High Court had reprimanded NMMC Commissioner Vijay Nahata to court in the illegal garden within Vashi’s holding pond case. Post which the Commissioner was forced to not only fulfill the calls of his duty but also set an enquiry in the matter. And this enquiry has exposed that along with senior most NMMC officials, 19 corporators were responsible for wasting public funds by making an illegal garden within the holding pond. In May this year, NMMC got one of the biggest jolts when Commissioner Vijay Nahata himself came in the direct line of fire of the Mumbai High Court during the hearing of social activist Sandeep Thakur’s petition on the “Illegal Garden at Vashi Holding Pond”. It may be recalled that the High Court gave a historic decision as it ordered 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. Following this a panicky Commissioner set an enquiry, which has been filed by way of an affidavit to be submitted in court. The findings of the enquiry are a shocker. This is because the affidavit exposes that from senior most officials of NMMC administration to 19 corporators were responsible for the criminal wastage of public funds drained in making the illegal garden. It has also been established that there was no public demand and only on the behest of the former local Congress corporator of the area Avinash Lad, the illegal garden was built at Vashi’s holding pond. All this has been exposed in the affidavit personally filed by Commissioner Vijay Nahata himself. It reads that the garden developed inside holding pond at Sector 10A has been removed. Public funds spent on making the garden and removing it is around Rs. 9 lacs. The affidavit states that the money spent has been recovered from concerned officers while the amount to be recovered from the corporators is being recovered shortly. The list of senior officials whose are responsible for approved the executed the illegal garden work includes: City Engineer Mohan Dagaonkar DMC J Sinnarkar Suspended DMC N N Alhat Suspended DMC Amrish Patnigire Suspended Asst. Commissioner Diwakar Samel Executive Engineer Anil Nerpagare Chief Accounts and Finance Officer Kongle While it was a shock to see how the senior officials are showing dereliction of duty, the bigger shocker is that former Mayor Anjani Bhoir and former NCP Corporator Dyaneshwar Naik who happen to be the father of present Mayor Sagar are in the list of the 19 corporators responsible for wasting public taxes in proposing and approving the work of an illegal garden inside Vashi’s holding pond. Take a look at these corporators who wasted your taxes without thinking twice : Former Mayor Anjani Bhoir Former NCP Corporator Ratna Vishwasrao Former Congress Corporator Sangeeta Sutar Former Congress Corporator Prakash Mate Former NCP Corporator Dyaneshwar Naik Former Corporator Madhavi Shinde Former NCP Corporator Kalavati Mahale Former Congress Corporator Avinash Lad who proposed the work Former NCP Corporator Usha Bhoir and from the present house in NMMC, NMMC Leader of the House Vitthal More Congress Corporator Dashrath Bhagat Congress Corporator Vilas Bhoir NCP Corporator Suresh Kulkarni NCP Corporator Ramesh Shinde and NMMC Education Committee member and former Shiv Sena Corporator Somnath Vaskar The incident has brought shame to the NMMC. Sandeep Thakur says that the Commissioner was not serious in implementing his own order and it’s due to the negligence of Commissioner Vijay Nahata that junior civic officials faced the brunt. On the other hand, most of the corporators we contacted were not even aware that there names are in the list submitted by Commissioner Vijay Nahata in court. These corporators refused to speak to us saying that they were unaware of this. Though we did manage to catch one of the corporators – NCP’s Suresh Kulkarni who said the same thing as his colleagues – that he didn’t know anything about the case. When we questioned that how could corporators show negligence like this in matters pertaining to public taxes, then too Suresh Kulkarni had a lame reply. Unfortunately the administration did not even take the Mayor in confidence before submitting the affidavit. When we spoke to Mayor Sagar Naik he too said that he was not aware about the affidavit. Pushing the blame of wastage of public funds on NMMC administration, Mayor Sagar Naik said that corporators can keep on proposing such work but it is the administration that is responsible for implementing them in the legal frame. If the High Court reprimands NMMC Commissioner Vijay Nahata for criminal wastage of public funds and the name of a Mayor comes in the list of the corporators responsible for wasting the funds, then it wouldn’t be wrong to say that perhaps standards of public service in NMMC has fallen to the lowest, unethical irresponsible level in NMMC’s history. With bureau inputs, Sana Warsia for NMTV News.

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