Published On : Tue, Jul 23rd, 2019

Sparks fly thick and fast as Oppn stages walk out in NMC’s Special Meeting over water crisis

Nagpur: Sparks flew thick and fast as Opposition Corporators raised issue of water crisis and staged a walk out in the Special Meeting of Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) held at Town Hall on Tuesday. On the other hand, NMC also found cornered as an all-party morcha of sanitary workers stormed outside the Town Hall and demanded justice on various issues.

Buckling under the pressure, the ruling party discussed the matter in the House and decided to form a high-level committee to probe functioning of GPS-enabled wrist watches given to sanitary workers. The committee is headed by Health Committee Chairman Virendra Kukreja which will submit its report by October 31. Till then the sanitary workers would be paid full salaries as before. The sanitary workers have been equipped with the ‘smart watches’ to keep check on the irregularities in attendance of sanitation staff.

Earlier, the Special Meeting of NMC got started by delay of 35 minutes at 11.35 am as Mayor Nanda Jichkar arrived late. As a result, the Deputy Mayor Deepraj Pardikar had to adjourn the meeting twice for 5 minutes for want of quorum. The meeting was to be held at 11 am but only Ruling Party Leader Sandeep Joshi, Standing Committee Chairman Pradeep Pohane, Health Committee Chairman Virendra Kukreja, Pravin Datke, Pramod Tabhane, BSP Leader Vaishali Narnavre, senior Congress Corporator Kishore Jichkar and Town Planning Department chief Gawande were present in the House on time. The House proceeding could start only after Mayor arrived 35 minutes late.

As the meeting started, the Leader of Opposition Tanaji Wanve demanded discussion on the issue of cut in water supply first instead of taking up the agenda of the Special Meeting. Other Opposition leaders including BSP Corporators supported Wanve’s demand. Taken aback by the demand, a furious Mayor tried to counter the Opposition members by saying the discussion on water crisis would be futile as city is not receiving rains. Notably, City Congress had staged a protest on Monday over water crisis and cut in water supply in city. NMC had announced water supply on alternate days till the city receives good rainfall.

Following Mayor’s ‘futile’ statement, the Opposition members rushed towards her and forced her to initiate a discussion of water issue. In the meantime, the Mayor started proceeding of Special Meeting as per the set agenda. On the Mayor’s direction, the NMC Secretary Harish Dubey announced appointment of members on Weaker Section Committee. BJP’s Gopichand Kumre, Rajendra Sonkusre, Shakuntala Parve, Gendre, Madavi, Vandana Bhagat, Ritika Masram, Dhote, and BSP’s Mamata Sahare were appointed as members of the NMC’s Weaker Section Committee. However, soon after the announcement, Opposition members created noisy scenes over their demand and staged a walk out from the House.

On the other hand, the ruling party continued with proceedings of the House. As the period of new development schemes in Hudkeshwar-Narsala areas and NMC’s old development scheme 2020 was coming to an end, former Mayor Pravin Datke, former Chairman of Standing Committee Balya Borkar gave notices for preparing new development schemes. Subsequently, the matter was discussed and the demands were approved.

The Special Meeting also approved the Rs 2434 crore revised proposal for pollution abatement and facelift of Nag Nadi and other rivers in city. The project is being funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in the form of soft loans. NMC will spend 15% of the total project cost which comes to 365.10 crore. The project cost on March 18, 2016 was Rs 1476.96 crore. The Central Government had given principle approval of Rs 1252.33 crore. Since the assessment was done in the year 2014, the revised proposal was tabled in the NMC’s meeting on the directive of Central Government.

During the conclusion of the special meeting, Ruling Party Leader Sandeep Joshi raised the issue of massive morcha of sanitation workers outside the Town Hall over GPS watches. The morcha had jammed traffic the road leading to the Town Hall and all roads outside. Joshi threw light on shortcomings of the GPS-enabled watches and paying of only Rs 100-200 towards salaries of the sanitation workers. Taking a serious view of the matter, a committee headed by Health Committee Chairman Virendra Kukreja was formed to probe the matter. The committee will submit its report by October 31. The meeting also recommended full salaries to sanitation workers till then. Directives in this regard were issued to the NMC administration by the Mayor.