Nagpur: NMC is at it again. A massive scam has hit the Town Planning Department of corruption-ridden Nagpur Municipal Corporation and the role of a tainted Executive Engineer, who holds clout with ‘khaki’ and khadi,’ has come under shadow. The Executive Engineer (Mahesh Gupta) who was suspended for his dubious affairs not only got his suspension revoked within days but got himself assigned with plum postings in other departments as additional responsibilities. Nagpur Today is giving a grim insight into the shady NMC where officials carry out murky deals to fill their own coffers at the expense of tax-payers money. The scam concerns a posh hotel near Aath Rasta Square in Laxminagar coming under Dhantoli Zone.
Violation since start
According to an official keeping a tab on the affairs of Dhantoli Zone’s Public Works Department (PWD), the Gupta-brother owned Ashok Hotel exists near the Aath Rasta Square. The hotel was constructed in the year 2012-13. At that time too, the construction was in the dubious book as laid down norms were violated, brazenly.
Later, the group of hotels struck a deal to purchase a big land (over 5000 sq ft) just beside the Ashok Hotel. The additional purchased land was merged with the old hotel and a fresh draft of plan submitted to the Town Planning Department for sanctioning of the map.
NMC rules say that if the land area measures below 5000 sq ft then the concerned Zone’s Public Works Department issues the sanctioned map as well as completion certificate. If the land is above 5000 sf ft then the NMC’s Town Planning Department sanctions the map and issues completion certificate.
Marred by irregularities
Well acquainted with the norms, the Directors of Ashok Hotel Gupta brothers ‘assigned the responsibility’ of procuring the sanctioned map for additional construction and issuance of completion certificate to the ‘tainted’ official Mahesh Gupta who was Deputy Engineer in Town Planning Department at that time.
According to sources, the additional construction (just adjacent to hotel) sanctioned by Town Planning Department is reportedly besieged with a number of irregularities. The construction is neither in accordance with the sanctioned map nor the land. Moreover, the occupancy certificate to the Ashok Hotel Group was issued in haste as well as in violation of laid down norms.
Gupta ignored authorities
The rule says that when the application for issuance of occupancy certificate is submitted, it is done only after inspection by a Junior Engineer or Deputy Engineer/Town planner or Assistant Director Town Planning. But in this case, the occupancy certificate proposal bears the direct signature of Deputy Engineer Mahesh Gupta and on his initiative only the entire processing of the proposal was done. And on the “recommendations” of Mahesh Gupta, the other concerned higher officials put their ‘valued’ signatures on the occupancy certificate of Ashok Hotel, of course, for a ‘value.’
The point to ponder is that the proposal for occupancy certificate of Ashok Hotel should have been processed at Dhantoli Zone PWD’s Junior Engineer level irrespective of the authority to sanction map resting with the Town Planning Department. But again, the Dhantoli Zone PWD should have done the processing of map sanctioning proposal and personal verification to see that the construction is done in accordance with the sanctioned map before issuance of occupancy certificate. But due to “high-handed” intervention on the part of Mahesh Gupta it was not done.
Tainted has the last laugh
The concerned officials of Dhantoli Zone, Town Planning Department and even the higher officials in NMC’s headquarter are hesitating to even discuss the issue. The only word they are uttering is that the matter concerns to Mahesh Gupta who is “blessed” by the Municipal Commissioner. The fact emerged obvious when the office-bearers of NMC found themselves helpless at the time of suspension of the ‘tainted’ officer. Suspension of Mahesh Gupta was not only revoked within a week but he was assigned responsibility in Transport Department, then in cement concrete road project as well as the crucial Smart City Project.
All said and done, in NMC parlance, if a firm action is not initiated in the messy affairs, the matter could end up in courts.
… Rajeev Ranjan Khushwaha