ATR on poor roads sparks fireworks in NMC’s GBM

Nagpur Damage Roads

Nagpur: The General Body Meeting of Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) being held on Thursday (October 6) was adjourned indefinitely amid Opposition uproar over Action Taken Report (ATR) on pathetic condition of roads in city.

A committee, headed by Corporator Sunil Agrawal, was set up by Mayor to probe quality of roads under Defect Liability Period (DLP) and suggest action accordingly. The committee submitted its probe report and the NMC Administration was to present the Action Taken Report on the probe report at today’s General Body Meeting (GBM). As the Mayor Pravin Datke directed the Chief Engineer to read the ATR, the Opposition benches started leveling a slew of serious allegations and created hurdles in the proceedings to corner the ruling party. The Mayor tried umpteen times to pacify the rampaging Opposition members but without success. When the situation seemed to be going out of control, the Mayor got all the subjects on the agenda approved on the basis of majority and adjourned the GBM indefinitely amidst the bedlam.

Since the GBM was not held in the month of September, it was being held in the first week of October at Mahal-based Town Hall. It was widely expected that the ATR music would be faced by those who are responsible, directly or indirectly, for poor condition of roads on the basis of committee’s probe report. Agrawal along with corporators and battery of officers had visited almost all the zones to check the quality of city roads. He has submitted his report to Municipal Commissioner Shravan Hardikar for further action. Subsequently, the NMC Administration was to submit the ATR in today’s GBM but the Opposition foiled the attempt by resorting to chaos that ultimately resulted in indefinite adjournment of the House.

Earlier, the House was adjourned twice for a short period due to lack of quorum. When the proceedings commenced at about 12.29 pm, the Mayor, after the Question Hour, directed the Chief Engineer Ulhas Debadwar to read the ‘Action Taken Report.’ The ATR said that the Probe Committee inspected 50 percent of 398 roads directly. Out of these, 18 roads were found with flaws. All the responsible builders have been issued notices and their Hot-Mix Plants were also inspected. The guilty contractors have been directed to bring the flawed roads to good shape before November 15. The contractors have given “assurance letters” in this regard, the ATR revealed.

The House was further informed that if the guilty contractors failed to follow the directives, not only their security deposits could be seized but their registration would also be cancelled.

The House was at “peace” till the reading of this portion of the ATR but erupted in bedlam soon thereafter. The Leader of Opposition Vikas Thakre stopped the Chief Engineer from reading the ATR further and darted a question. “First tell the House about how many guilty contractors and officials faced the action over the poor condition of roads. The Ruling Party and the Administration have given a clean chit to the guilty. The Committee has prepared a bogus report. The irresponsible officials are being shieled,” Thakre roared.

Corporator Sandeep Sahare said that inspection 50 percent roads in four months is nothing but contempt of Mayor’s directives. However, when the Mayor Datke turned a “blind eye” towards the allegations and demands of the Opposition members and asked the Chief Engineer to continue ATR reading, hell broke loose. The entire Opposition gathered around the Mayor’s Chair and started shouting slogans in pitched voice. They demanded immediate action against the guilty contractors and officials. Noticing the hostile mood of the Opposition, the Mayor adjourned the House for five minutes at 1.57 pm. When the proceedings commenced, the Mayor was seen pacifying the Opposition members and urging them to listen to the ATR reading. When the Opposition refused to budge from their hostile act, the House started considering the starred questions on the agenda on the demand of Standing Committee Chairman Sudhir Raut. Within the next four minutes, all the 28 subjects on the agenda were approved on the basis of majority and the House was adjourned indefinitely by the Mayor.

However, the Opposition uproar and the indefinite adjournment of the House are being seen as a “Match Fixing.” As a well-planned strategy on the part of Ruling Party as well as Opposition, reading of ATR was not allowed. Had the reading of ATR was allowed to the last word, a number of damning revelations would have come to light. And not only the guilty contractors and officials but the bigwigs of Ruling Party and Opposition would have exposed over the ugly face of roads in the city.