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WHAT IS THE STAKE OF BEING A CORPORATOR? ON THE EVE MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS 2010 WE FIND OUT THE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION ON OUR WEEKEND EXCLUSIVE

corporators-stake-1NMMC Elections 2010 is round the corner and every of the 90 wards of the city is seaming with aspirants wanting to become corporators. When we know that social work is definitely not on the minds of these aspirants, we thought of finding out why is that there is a rush to become a corporator? We spoke to industry experts and of course the common man to find out the answer to the question “What is the stake of being a Corporator” for our exclusive this weekend. The city is dotted with political hoardings of wannabe corporators, haldi kum kum events are happening this year like the city never saw in the last four years, vachanpurti solahs i.e. promises-fulfilled ceremonies are being organized as if all corporator’s election promises are being fulfilled in the election year itself and every of the 90 wards of the city is seaming with aspirants wanting to become corporators – these are all signs of desperation of how there is a rush for aspirants to become corporators and sitting corporators to run for a consecutive term. You don’t have to be a Sherlock Homes to figure out that social work is definitely not on the minds of these aspirant corporators. So what is the stake of being a corporator that these political wannabes want to become corporators? We tried to find out the answer by speaking to experts in the city who gave a list of reasons that answer this question. The first reason that experts sighted was that with corporator-ship comes “monetary benefits”. Corporators and corruption have become synonymous in NMMC. Once elected to NMMC, corporators use their control over the levers of power to milk the system on a sustained basis through tenders. Soon their need for corruption grows in tandem with their stature as corruption is their primary source of revenue for keeping their political fortunes alive. Social activist Sandeep Thakur says that the nowadays corporatorship is viewed as an office of profit. NMTV News Political Editor Vishwarath Nayar says that with tenders worth Crores of Rupees approved, there is a lot of kick back for corporators. Senior journalist Manoj Jalnawalla says that seeing how corporators make money, aspirants get attracted to the prospects of contesting elections and becoming corporators. Another city scribe Rajit Yadav says that corporator-ship has become like a business, only with no investments. Senior journalist Vikas Mahadik points out the double standards of corporators and says that with elections nearing, suddenly there is a rise in haldi kum kum like social events even as there are other issues that continue to plague the city. Another factor that lures many to becoming corporators is the commission that corporators get in the civic tenders floated in their wards, which within the nexus of officials-corporators-contractors is known as “cuts”. These cuts can range from single digits to upto 15% of the tender amount. In fact, the benefit stakes are high if corporators becoming members of the committees in the corporation. He says that the percentage of this cut varies from 2 to even 10. A look at how Crores of tenders are approved in NMMC General Body Meetings and Standing Committee meetings tell a tale of how the stress of tenders is mostly on gutter, water and meter as the in these tenders, the cut is as high as 15% of the tender amount. In fact, is closely studied one can see a pattern in the approval of tenders. Sometimes, proposals that have huge kickbacks are kept pending allegedly until the contractor does not finalize the cut for both the administration and corporators. He says that the benefits of being a corporator are so high that you its like one time investment and benefits for the next five years. Seeing the cuts that their party bosses get, their subordinates join the line of aspirants in the next elections. While the sitting corporators who have already experienced the benefits of the cuts, put in everything to run for elections again. He points out that one reason corporators never say anything when the contractor does shoddy work is because they have already taken their cuts. Corporators in Navi Mumbai are equivalent to the MLAs of Mumbai in lifestyles, property and status. In five years, most corporators amass huge wealth, which cannot be possible without corruption. And this is something that has been reiterated by none other than the political badshah of Navi Mumbai Thane Guardian Minister Ganesh Naik. In a one to one interview with NMTV Editor-In-Chief Dr. Ravi Subbaiah had voiced the massive corruption done by corporators that changes their lifestyles completely. This wasn’t the only time when Thane Guardian Minister Ganesh Naik acknowledged the deep rooted corruption in NMMC. On another occasion, he publicly criticized the corporators-officials nexus responsible for corruption in NMMC. When the Guardian Minister of the district accepts this, then no one can deny that there huge stakes of becoming a corporator. In fact, if the economics wing would investigate into the wealth and property of corporators, then they’d find out how the corporators have amassed unaccounted wealth. In fact, they way public service has been made a business, instead of being corporators of the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation, public representatives have become business agents of New Money Making Contracts. And these business agents do not just make monetary benefits from NMMC contracts but have other avenues in their own wards as well. For instance the vulnerable hawkers; who cannot run business in any ward unless they give

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