A DAY after MNS corporator Sandeep Deshpande with his party workers forced the chief engineer of the roads department to hold up a placard saying he was responsible for the city’s potholes, around 4,200 civic engineers submitted their resignation to the municipal commissioner in protest Thursday. The engineers, including the chief engineers of all departments in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, demanded Deshpande’s arrest and threatened to go on strike from Friday.
On October 5, MNS party workers took Sanjay Darade, the chief engineer of the roads department, to a spot near Sena Bhavan in Dadar and forced him to hold up the placard. On the same day, Darade filed a complaint with the Shivaji Park police station against the corporators and other members of the party. However, police officers stated that no FIR was registered in the matter.
Up in arms over the incident, hundreds of engineers including Darade staged a protest outside the Engineering Hub in Worli from 11 am till 2:30 pm on Thursday. Sukhdev Kashid, secretary of the Municipal Engineers Association, stated that unless action was taken against Deshpande, the engineers would not report to work. “This is not the first time that Deshpande has behaved in this manner and such behaviour cannot be tolerated. We have demanded that the police arrest him and the municipal commissioner remove him from the position of a corporator. How can such people be allowed to contest elections?” he said.
Several chief engineers who had gathered in front of the commissioner’s office on Thursday said that such corporators make it difficult for them to work. “We are public servants and don’t deserve to be treated in this manner. Darade was humiliated by the corporators, who have threatened to do it again. How can we work under such conditions?” asked a senior civic official who had submitted his resignation.
While Mehta did not accept the resignation, he has assured the engineers that adequate action would be taken against Deshpande and other MNS members. “We have requested the police to take action as per the law against those involved. We have, however, asked the engineers not to resign, since we cannot hold the city to ransom,” Mehta said. Meanwhile, Deshpande stated he had not done anything illegal. “We did not take him anywhere against his wishes. We have given him an ultimatum of another 10 days. If the city’s potholes are not filled by then, we will make him hold the placard once again,” he said. Deshpande added that after the incident, all the potholes on the stretch from Sena Bhavan till Plaza Theatre in Dadar were repaired overnight.