It has dawned upon NMMC administration that the court order in the case of the holding pond at Vashi is a tough one and there is no scope of the administration getting away this time. They have to find out the official and department responsible for bringing and sanctioning the proposal of building the illegal garden within a holding pond at Vashi by July 20. For this an internal investigation has been set up, reliable sources of NMMC inform. Troubles of the NMMC administration in the illegal garden within the Vashi Holding Pond has left officials sweating post the High Court order. 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. The NMMC administration knows that it cannot get away this time as the High Court has given a very tough order. If the Municipal Commissioner Vijay Nahata fails to name the officer and the department responsible for sanctioning the illegal garden within a holding pond then and does not recover the publix funds wasted in the work of making and removing the illegal garden, the court has clearly said that then the Municipal Commissioner Vijay Nahata himself will be responsible for the wastage of public funds. Meanwhile the NMMC Garden Dept. headed by Dy. Municipal Commissioner J N Sinnarkar has feigned ignorance of stating that they have “no clue as to who developed the illegal garden and from where the funds were generated.” Department official not surprisingly were reluctant to speak on camera but went on record to say that they are investigating the department and the officials who permitted the development of the garden. Everyone knows that the garden was developed by former Congress corporator of the area Avinash Lad during his tenure from 2000-2010 the garden. Sources reveal that the wicked minds in NMMC are trying to get away from pinning responsibility of funds on any officer and department by stating that the garden was developed by the cash prize the NMMC won under the Sant Gadge Baba Urban Cleanliness Drive but under the Right to Information, the petitioner Sandeep Thakur as proof that Rs 1.90 lakh was spent on the garden development from Corporator’s Avinash Lad’s corporator funds. Its common knowledge that the garden development involved bringing soil and leveling along with installing play things and that’s why the construction cost is definitely more than what is declared now. The administration should think twice before trying to manipulate the facts in the case and should have the conscience of bringing the wicked minds to book who are responsible for floating such proposals that end up in reckless wastage of public funds. Speculations are that 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 and might even take a transfer before the next hearing of the case scheduled for July 20. 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.
April 18, 2008