Volunteers stop work over donation
PACIFIED After civic chief reprimanded them over taking donation for immersion, volunteers briefly stopped work at Vashi
Volunteers, who immerse the idols at immersion sites, went on a flash strike on Saturday following a warning by municipal commissioner Tukaram Mundhe against the collection of money from the devotees.
The volunteers were later pacified by senior police inspector of Vashi police station Ajaykumar Landge, following which they resumed the immersions.
There have been complaints by devotees that they have to pay exorbitant amounts to have their Ganpati idols immersed at several ponds in the city. The maximum complaints were from Vashi pond. “Those bringing small idols have to pay a minimum of Rs500 to volunteers and the amount increases with the size of the idol and also the reputation of the mandal. A well known mandal in Vashi last year paid Rs22,000 for the immersion of its large idol,” said a resident, requesting anonymity.
On Saturday, Mundhe visited the Vashi pond during the 6th day of immersion and took the volunteers to task. Mundhe said, “You will not charge a single penny from the people who come to get their idols immersed. You are paid Rs427 per head per day.”
“If you don’t want to work, you can leave,” he told the volunteers, who are paid on a daily basis by the NMMC.
When the volunteers told him that they work for long hours, he said, “I accept you work hard. However, any decision on raising the amount given by the civic body, can be taken for next year. For now, you have to follow it.”
He said, “If anyone is found taking money from the devotees, we will file criminal action against them. Do not take the money even if someone offers it.”
Mundhe seized the donation box of the volunteers that was being used to keep the money collected.
After Mundhe left, the angry Municipal commissioner Tukaram Mundhe inspects Vashi pond, an immersion site, on Saturday.
volunteers struck work and refused to immerse the idols. Vashi senior police inspector Ajaykumar Landge then spoke to the volunteers and asked them to resume the immersion. The volunteers then changed the NMMC T-shirts they were wearing and put on the Police mitr T-shirts and started the immersions.
Nilesh Patil, a volunteer, said: “We start working from 6 am and the immersions go up to 4am the next morning. We have to work hard and even risk our lives. What is wrong in accepting what the devotees offer.”
SLAMS CIVIC STAFF OVER WASTE SEGREGATION
Mundhe also had a go at his civic officials when he saw unsegregated garbage in the bins near the pond. He said, “There are bins here clearly marked for dry and wet garbage. Why is no care being taken to segregate the garbage? Why is everything being dumped together?”
The officials then hurriedly arranged for additional bins. A girl waters the tree Ganesha at a house in Seawoods on Saturday.