Civic chief scraps `163-crore so­lar project at Morbe dam Top civic of­fi­cials put in pa­pers, more to fol­low

Civic com­mis­sioner took the de­ci­sion be­cause of flaws in the project

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI - G Mo­hi­ud­din Jeddy ht­for­nav­i­mum­bai@hin­dus­tan­ G Mo­hi­ud­din Jeddy ht­for­nav­i­mum­bai@hin­dus­tan­

In a ma­jor de­ci­sion which goes against for­mer min­is­ter Ganesh Naik’s much-touted plans, Navi Mum­bai mu­nic­i­pal com­mis­sioner Tukaram Mundhe has can­celled the Rs163crore so­lar project.

Planned on the slopes of Morbe dam to gen­er­ate elec­tric­ity us­ing so­lar pan­els, the project had been fac­ing ma­jor hur­dles.

The civic body said the de­ci­sion was taken due to sev­eral flaws in the project and it will help it save funds.

Ad­di­tional mu­nic­i­pal com­mis­sioner Ankush Cha­van said, “Mu­nic­i­pal com­mis­sioner Tukaram Mundhe, while tak­ing a re­view of the work of the en­gi­neer­ing depart­ment, scru­ti­nised the project. He came across la­cu­nas and de­cided to scrap the project, thereby sav­ing Rs163 crore of public money.”

The stand­ing com­mit­tee of NMMC had on Septem­ber 11, 2014, sanc­tioned the so­lar project at Morbe dam. The project had to be com­pleted by May 10, 2015. It was es­sen­tial to have a power pur­chase agree­ment (PPA) with MSEDCL for sale of elec­tric­ity gen­er­ated from the project. How­ever, with MSEDCL in­form­ing NMMC on De­cem­ber 30, 2014, that it can­not pur­chase the power, the project was doomed even be­fore it be­gan.

Cha­van said, “Most im­por­tantly, there is no PPA with MSEDCL. Be­sides, when the project was ap­proved, the cost of gen­er­a­tion of elec­tric­ity was much higher, which is not fea­si­ble in the mar­ket to­day as no one will pur­chase it at that higher rate.”

He added, “The project’s dead­line is long over. It will in­crease the NMMC’s fi­nan­cial cost and add to the bur­den on the civic body.”

Cha­van said if such a project is planned in fu­ture, new ten­ders would be called and the project would be im­ple­mented prop­erly. He added, “The civic com­mis­sioner has stressed on tak­ing up projects with large public in­ter­est. He has also laid em­pha­sis on pro­vid­ing qual­ity civic ser­vices through tax col­lec­tion. The funds saved will now be used for other im­por­tant civic ser­vices.”

There is an ex­o­dus of top of­fi­cials from Navi Mum­bai Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion (NMMC) with some be­ing sent pack­ing by mu­nic­i­pal com­mis­sioner Tukaram Mundhe, while some putting in their pa­pers. There are reports of sev­eral more top of­fi­cials quit­ting in the com­ing days.

One of the most se­nior deputy mu­nic­i­pal com­mis­sion­ers of NMMC, Ja­gan­nath Sin­narkar has quit the civic body opt­ing for vol­un­tary re­tire­ment (VRS). Chief san­i­ta­tion of­fi­cer Sid­dharth Chaure too has re­port­edly put in his pa­pers.

Sin­narkar, who had for years headed the de­part­ments of ad­min­is­tra­tion, fire and oth­ers had re­cently been trans­ferred by Mundhe as DMC (head­quar­ters) in charge of de­part­ments of prop­erty, ve­hi­cle and Swachch Ma­ha­rash­tra Ab­hiyan.

He had been in NMMC service for the past 18 years in var­i­ous posts.

With just three years of his service re­main­ing, his res­ig­na­tion has shocked the civic per­son­nel. He has stated that he has re­signed for per­sonal rea­sons.

A civic source said, “At least two as­sis­tant mu­nic­i­pal com­mis­sion­ers, who are ward of­fi­cers, could sub­mit their res­ig­na­tions soon. There are also other of­fi­cials and per­son­nel who are plan­ning a sim­i­lar move due to the pres­sure and the changed sce­nario in the ad­min­is­tra­tion since Mundhe took charge.”

Ear­lier, for­mer ad­di­tional com­mis­sioner Dr Sanjay Pat­ti­war who had been de­moted by Mundhe as med­i­cal of­fi­cer of health had re­cently re­signed.

Mundhe had said that since Pat­ti­war’s post had not been sanc­tioned by the gov­ern­ment, he had to go back to his orig­i­nal post­ing.

Mundhe had sus­pended deputy mu­nic­i­pal com­mis­sioner (prop­erty tax) Prakash Kulka­rni and in­sti­tuted a depart­men­tal in­quiry against him for al­leged ad­min­is­tra­tive and fi­nan­cial ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties.

He had re­jected Kulka­rni’s of­fer to re­sign from the civic body stick­ing to the sus­pen­sion or­der.

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