Claiming that credit for civic works undertaken by them was being unduly taken by MPs and MLAs, corporators of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Thursday demanded that guidelines be framed to specifically denote who is allowed to inaugurate any public local works in the city.
The demand comes after a public squabble on Tuesday between Bharatiya Janata Party corporator Vinod Shelar and Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam.
According to reports, Nirupam was accosted in Dindoshi for carrying out a bhoomi pujan for a road where Shelar claims he had already laid a foundation stone days ago. Claiming Nirupam was taking credit for his work, Shelar alleged the North Mumbai MP’s bhoomi pujan was in violation of the election code of conduct that came into effect hours before the scheduled poojan.
While Nirupam denies the allegations, corporators in the BMC have opposed the “high-handedness” of MLAs and MPs under whose constituencies their electoral wards are located. “We use our own funds to carry out the work. We wait for years to finally get the works sanctioned with adequate budget allocation. After all this, MPs and MLAs try to carry out bhoomi pujans and inaugurations, taking all the credit,” said Shelar, who raised the point of order in the civic general body meeting.
“It is not fair to allow this. There should be some boundaries. Many corporators have raised this issue time and again. Like Nirupam, there are MPs and MLAs who do not use their own funds properly and try to take credit for other corporators’ works, even if they do not belong to the same party. We are working daily with the public and the BMC, and we ensure civic amenities are provided to citizens. They should not be misled as everything in the end is blamed on the corporator,” said Samajwadi Party corporator Yaqoob Memon.
However, further consensus on the issue could not be reached as corporators soon resorted to protests and slogans against opposing party MPs and MLAs. Mayor Sunil Prabhu had to quickly adjourn the meeting to end the growing ruckus.
Clamouring for glory?
Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam (above) and BJP corporator of P-North ward Vinod Shelar entered into a fight over the bhoomi pujan of a road at Dindoshi. The verbal fight is said to have escalated to such an extent that Nirupam allegedly damaged Shelar’s mobile phone. A non-cognizable offence has even been registered against the North Mumbai MP under IPC Sections 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of Rs 50) and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace) at Dindoshi police station.
On Wednesday, BJP MLA Vinod Ghosalkar inaugurated a road in the R-North ward (Borivali/Dahisar) that Congress corporator Sheetal Mhatre claims she had carried out the work for. According to Ministers, corporators battle for credit of public projectsMhatre, funds were used from her individual development fund for the road work, which she had already inaugurated a few days earlier. Similar to the Nirupam-Shelar spat, she alleged the incident took place hours after the election code set in but could not raise objection as she was travelling to the BMC headquarters at the time.
Samajwadi Party corporator Yaqoob Memon of the C ward, alleged that Congress MLA Amin Patel regularly takes credit for work Memon carries out in his constituency. Recently, Memon carried out the bhoomi pujan for a dilapidated BMC residential building that was initially scheduled for repairs but eventually slated for redevelopment. Memon alleged that the Mumbadevi MLA had allegedly taken credit for the initiative, and that he was “compelled” to put up hoardings to correct the misleading information given to people in his ward.