A circular in English by the municipal commissioner with directions to “simplify and shorten application forms for civic services, for ease of business” became the central topic at Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s standing committee meet on Friday as BJP-Sena corporators raised an uproar over it.
Claiming that the circular pointed towards “dilution of Marathi”, Shiv Sena corporator Ramakant Rahate said it was an insult to the Marathi language. “IAS officers or BMC officials, who find traditional Marathi words tough, need to get tutored in Marathi. If you are living in Maharashtra, you need to learn these words. A resolution was passed long ago to make all communication in BMC in Marathi. It should be followed,” he said.
Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta’s circular had stated, “Application forms for various civic services in MCGM are unduly long, cumbersome and ask for all types of information, sometimes not relevant to the work of citizens. To make it easy for all citizens for doing business in Mumbai, all departments are directed to simplify and shorten the forms”. The commissioner had instructed officials to complete this process within three months.
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The opposition leaders agreed that Marathi should be promoted in BMC, but slammed the ruling coalition for double standards. “This issue highlights the double standards of the BJP-Sena coalition. All internal communication in the civic body, run by the coalition, is in English. However, they claim they are promoting the Marathi language. All the commissioner asked for was simplification of language. It would benefit everyone. We agree with the commissioner that Marathi jargon can be broken down into simpler words for the benefit of the public, but the ruling coalition just wants to be seen as promoting the Marathi Manoos cause,” said Pravin Chedda, a Congress corporator.
Samajwadi Party corporator Rais Shaikh said instead of creating an issue over the circular, the ruling coalition should bring out the DP plan in Marathi to benefit the locals.
The corporators also questioned the civic body’s promise of desilting the nullah before the monsoon. They also demanded that an FIR be lodged against the telecom firm, already fined by BMC, for allegedly damaging a
water pipeline while laying cables and leaving residents of Ghatkopar without water for four days. Till May 27, the BMC claims, it has completed 92.72 per cent of desilting work and desilting of Mithi River is 91.40 per cent complete.
However, Shaikh alleged that contractors produced self-certified bills for desilting work and measured the silt using private weighing machines.
“CCTV network should be put up around nullahs. Once the BMC officials have confirmed the amount of silt, only then should the contractors be paid. The ongoing process exposes the official-contractor nexus and is hampering finances,” he said.
Parking lot woes
Corporators came down heavily on the administration for failing to act against errant officials responsible for the 20-storied mechanised parking lot, inside a building at Breach Candy, lying vacant and misused for years.
Corporators, in the previous meeting, had sought information on action taken against the contractor appointed to operate the parking zone. A private agency had constructed the multi-level car parking zone in wing ‘A’ along with wing ‘B’ for sale component. According to the contract, the said agency was responsible for operating, maintaining and collecting revenue for the parking lot for five years. In December 2014, its lease ended and BMC will now take it over.