PAP leaders call for bandh on Monday Mayor upset after civic chief scraps NCP pet projects
All parties slam civic chief’s action against structures built by the project-affected
The areas under Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) will be shut on Monday to protest against the action taken by municipal commissioner Tukaram Mundhe against structures built by the projectaffected people.
This was decided at an allparty meeting of project-affected people (PAP) on Friday night.
The PAP leaders, cutting across party lines, met at MLA Manda Mhatre’s house on Friday morning. A protest meet was then held in the evening at Dutta temple in Sanpada.
Mhatre said the traders in the city, too, have extended their support to the bandh. This means all shops will down shutters on Monday.
“All the PAP leaders and traders will gather at Dutta temple hall on Monday along with a large number of people that will send a very strong message to the entire state. We will then reveal our future course of action and not now as we do not want to alert the administration or the police,” said Mhatre.
Mundhe came in from strong criticism at the meeting, especially by Mhatre. She said, “We had gone to meet the commissioner to ask him to stop action against PAP houses. We appealed to him no to act against them as they are need based structures.”
She added, “However, he is adamant that action will be taken. We have called for a bandh on Monday to protest such arbitrary actions of the commissioner.”
The PAP claim that there are need-based constructions which have received protection from the government. Mundhe has said he will not touch the existing structures but those under construction without permission will be targeted.
The anti-encroachment department of the NMMC had faced strong opposition from the locals in Turbhe when it had last week gone to demolish a structure there.
The NMMC, however, continued with the action under Mundhe’s orders, greatly upsetting the locals.
Former Cidco director and Shiv Sena corporator Namdeo Bhagat said, “We condemn the action by the NMMC. We will launch an intense agitation against the anti-encroachment department.”
He added, “Not one house will be allowed to be demolished. We are ready to face cases for it and even ready to resign as corporator if need be. We will strongly standby anyone who opposes the demolition action by the authorities.”
BJP city president Ramchandra Gharat said they have no option but to agitate.
City Congress president Dashrath Bhagat said they would fight for the rights of the PAP. “We are ready to take to the streets to save their houses, if required. We will not allow Mundhe to continue with his whimsical actions.”
NCP city president Anant Sutar said that they were united in launching the agitation. “It is the need of the hour that we forget our internal differences and unitedly launch the agitation.”
The scimitars are out of their scabbards in the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation. Mayor Sudhakar Sonawane said he will back corporators if they table a no-confidence motion against NMMC municipal commissioner Tukaram Mundhe for allegedly cancelling projects, promoted by Ganesh Naik-led Nationalist Congress Party.
On reports of an impending trust vote against Mundhe, the mayor said, “The decision is to be taken by political leaders. If it is tabled, I will not hesitate one moment before taking a decision on it.” The NCP holds majority in the NMMC.
Rallying behind senior NCP leader Naik, the mayor said the commissioner’s decisions are “publicity stunts”.
“These projects are a matter of Ganesh Naik’s pride and respect and we shall ensure that they are taken up,” Sonawane said.
Mundhe recently scrapped Naik’s pet projects, which include the Rs163-crore solar project at the Morbe dam; floating advanced casualty complex (FACC) ambulance service on the Thane-Belapur and Palm Beach roads with an outlay of Rs3.19 crore; and the Rs20-crore proposal for marble cladding of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar memorial in Airoli.
These projects were approved by the general body of the NMMC.
On the solar project, he said, “The matter should have been brought to the general body which has approved it. If the contract and the rates were old, they could have been worked out.”
On the solar power project, Sonawane said, “There is no question of getting no purchaser for the electricity generated. We pay to MSEDCL for the power. With our own power, we would have to pay only for the consumption and will use the power generated by us for free.” The central government is promoting the policy of solar power, and here we are cancelling it after general body’s approval.”
On the FACC decision, the mayor said that the proposal aimed to provide immediate assistance to injured people on highways.
Sonawane had earlier termed the decision to scrap the marble dome for Ambedkar memorial as ‘demeaning’.
“The NCP is the ruling party and the people of the city have elected us for years. The decisions taken are not just of the NCP but of the people. Cancelling the plan is an insult to them,” he said.