Late meetings, few proposals, poor discussions – that’s what NMMC Standing Committee seems to have become in the last couple of months. While one must have thought that they have seen it all, they were proven wrong; as this week’s standing committee meeting was both shocking and embarrassing for NMMC and its corporators. MNS barged into the Standing Committee leaving the ruling and opposition in shock and disrupting the proceedings for the day.
This week again, the Standing Committee meeting in NMMC started half hour late as usual, however what followed was not just shocking but even shameful for the standing committee. Just as the NMMC Standing Committee Chairman Ramesh Shinde was about to enter the hall, a delegation of MNS party workers barged in the standing committee raising slogans and protests against the administration for failing to fill potholes in wake of the Ganesh festival. Seeing the crowd, Ramesh Shinde returned back to his cabin while MNS members continued to raise slogans against the administration.
Then NCP corporator Shivram Patil told the delegation that they did not have the right to enter the standing committee this way which was answered by another set of protests by the MNS workers. Soon, a chaotic argument followed between the standing committee members and the MNS workers.
NMMC DMC Jagannath Sinnarkar tried to get the situation under control by requesting the delegation to submit their application to the Commissioner and let the meeting start but to no avail. Finally, the police was called and the MNS party workers taken away. Speaking to the media, outside the hall, the MNS workers said that there demand was to expedite filling of potholes and penalize the road contractor.
The delegation threatened that after this they will go to the house of each of the corporators to press their demands. Evidently, in a state of shock, corporators of both the ruling and opposition protested the MNS act and arguments followed between the corporators and NMMC Secretary Chandrakant Deokar. Corporators blamed the administration for failing to maintain the sanctity of the standing committee. Raising concerns of security, Shivram Patil said that the sanctity of the standing committee was disrupted due to this incident. NMMC Standing Committee Chairman Ramesh Shinde demanded to know what the administration’s stance would be on the unfortunate incident that happened.
NMMC Secretary Chandrakant Deokar tried to cover up the failure of his department to provide security by stating that anyone willing to protest had the right to enter the premises of NMMC. However, this statement received flak from corporators including Aparna Gavte who questioned whether Deokar had ever studied rules for decorum of a meeting of public representatives. The members demanded to know what action would be taken against the MNS workers. Shiv Sena corporator Bahadur Bist said that last time during a similar incident in the GB, late in the night a complaint was filed by NMMC against the opposition leader, then why not this time too.
Amidst a lot of arguments, the chairman Ramesh Shinde ordered the secretary to right away go to the police station and file a police complaint. With that the meeting was called off for the day. Two years ago, NMMC most powerful committee – the Standing Committee had won respect of citizens. At that time when MLA Sandeep Naik was the Chairman of the committee, the committee set benchmark for holding healthy discussions and debates on public issues and taking progressive decision for the city. IN comparison to that time, this week’s Standing Committee proceedings were most unfortunate. More so since the new GR giving discretionary powers to the NMMC Commissioner to approve proposals upto Rs 50 lakhs without the consent of the Standing Committee members has come into effect. The Standing Committee meetings for weeks now have merely become a formality where members approved one or two proposals and the meetings are concluded in a very short time, without discussions on significant development works of the city. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the most powerful committee executing public work in NMMC – the Standing Committee has become both powerless and meaningless. With cameraperson Vinayak Dalvi, Sana Warsia for NMTV News.