Nagpur: At the press conference that Chandrashekhar Bawankule, Guardian Minister of Nagpur held to announce the first “samadhan shibir” he also had a detailed Q – A series with the many city journalists gathered there. He was accompanied by Shyam Bardhane. NIT Commissioner, Shravan Hardikar, Municipal Commissioner, Sachin Kurve, Collector and Deputy Collectors Girish Joshi and Asha Pathan.
Bawankule answered queries about how to resolve power problems; problems with excessive billing; water supply problems. land audit and acquisition issues, the Nagpur Metro, citizens’ problems with Ration cards, Adhar cards etc. and issues of medical facilities that should be available to the common people of the city.
All these problems will be taken up and best efforts will be made to resolve them the same day at the novel ‘Shibir’ Camp that is planned on the 30th May at Mundle High School, informed the Minister.
The Guardian Minister appreciated and applauded the role of the local media who often point out problems to politicians and local authorities who can then take action. He said these two pillars of Democracy have to work hand in hand rather than as adversaries.
In this spirit, he fielded all questions thrown at him, whether it was about a non functioning Sonography machine at a Govt. Hospital or labour complains against his brother’s company a Whatsapp message about which is being circulated these days.
“Neither me, my wife or my children have anything to do with this Company you mention” clarified Bawankule. “It belongs to my brother and he has been running it for the last 20 years. If labour have any legitimate problems they should go to the Labour Commissioner or DIC office with their complains. When people straight away start sending Whatsapp messages, I smell a rat. Is it being done to target me, or highlight a genuine problem?”
The Minister also went on to say that he was not defending his brother’s or any other relative’s company. “Politicians kin also have the right to earn a livelihood and do commerce and trade,don’t they?” he asked candidly.
When a journalist spoke about the case of the mentally challenged girl who was allegedly raped by government employees of the shelter she was living in and is now pregnant, Bawankule immediately asked his assistants to find out what action has been taken.
When, the undersigned, on behalf of Nagpur Today asked about the irregularities in the Children’s Traffic Park and the revenue that NMC was losing out on due to a one sided tender agreement that has been repeated to the same Vendor year after year, Bawankule directed the question to the Municipal Commissioner who already seemed to be aware that there were complains about irregularities.
He was quick to accept that “some facilities are lacking and we are looking into it”. But when asked about why the NMC was getting only Rs. 3 lakhs per annum when the Contractor was earning in lakhs every months, specially in summer months when there is heavy rush of children and their parents there every evening, he replied he was not ” aware of such revenues and resulting losses to the city”.
But he said ” if it is happening, we shall definitely take action”.
The undersigned also asked about the status of various city parks which instead of being places where families can go to relax and their children play, have become dens of vice and hangouts of anti social elements. Right under the nose of NMC Garden suptd. and his juniors who are supposed to manage these parks.
Bawankule acknowledged this was a genuine problem and he had noticed such happenings too.
“You have asked a very good question, This is definitely an issue about which something needs to be done immediately. We shall improve the maintenance of such parks and keep undesirable elements out. If we have to hand them over to private operators we shall do so”.
But looking at the example of Traffic Park mentioned earlier NT wonders how this will solve the problem rather than creating more corruption and leaking revenues for the city.
… Sunita Mudliyar