Not one ward-level meet­ing in 6 years, finds RTI query

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI MUMBAI - Sang­hami­tra Sengupta sang­hami­tra.sengupta@hin­dus­tan­times.com

NAVI MUM­BAI: A re­cent RTI query by Dhanaji Kha­rade, Congress block pres­i­dent of Belapur, sought in­for­ma­tion that the Navi Mum­bai Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion (NMMC) has not held a sin­gle ward-level meet­ing for the past six years.

The civic body is sup­posed to con­duct an area or ci­ti­zen meet­ings twice a year which is manda­tory as per the Maharashtra Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion and Mu­nic­i­pal Coun­cil (Amend­ment) Act, 2009.

How­ever, as per the RTI it has been found out that the mu­nic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tion has failed to do so yet.

Navi Mum­bai Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion ju­ris­dic­tion is di­vided into eight wards rep­re­sented by 116 cor­po­ra­tors from Airoli to Belapur.

“It is manda­tory for the civic ad­min­is­tra­tion to hold ward level meet­ings with the pub­lic and tell them about the on­go­ing and pro­posed civic de­vel­op­men­tal works and seek their ob­jec­tions and sug­ges­tions. How­ever, our mu­nic­i­pal ad­min­is­tra­tion has failed to hold even a sin­gle such meet­ing be­tween 2009 and 2015,” said Kha­rade.

He said while the mu­nic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tion has been in­volv­ing cit­i­zens for the smart city race since some time now, they have ig­nored to fol­low the rule which is al­ready in place be­cause of which the res­i­dents failed to get a plat­form to voice their opin­ions.

Maharashtra Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion and Mu­nic­i­pal Coun­cil (Amend­ment) Act, 2009, states that it is manda­tory for cor­po­ra­tors to con­duct area meet­ings at least twice a year. The meet­ing should be called by the as­sis­tant mu­nic­i­pal com­mis­sioner on the sug­ges­tion of cor­po­ra­tor, who is the chair­per­son of the meet­ing. The quo­rum for the meet­ing is vot­ers of at least two polling booths in the ward to dis­cuss the civic is­sues fac­ing the area.

The vi­o­la­tion of the Act is pun­ish­able, un­der which, the mem­ber­ship of the cor­po­ra­tor can be can­celled. How­ever, none of the cor­po­ra­tors are pay­ing heed to the le­gal as­pect.

“The amend­ment was made in 2009 with an aim to in­volve cit­i­zens for the bet­ter­ment of the city by tak­ing their sug­ges­tion and un­der­stand­ing their needs,” he said.

How­ever, of­fi­cials from the NMMC said there has been no clar­ity about the rule and its amend­ment.

“There is no clar­ity about the amend­ment of the Act. How­ever, we will once again look into it and get a clar­i­fi­ca­tion and if nec­es­sary will im­ple­ment it,” said mayor Sud­hakar Son­a­vane.

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