Despite massive public outcry in Pimpri-Chinchwad in the past fortnight, the state government on Friday transferred Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Commissioner Shrikar Pardeshi who had effectively succeeded in ending the menace of illegal constructions and curbing corruption in civic corridors during his tenure of one year and eight months.
Political parties and civic activists condemned the decision and have decided to start an indefinite agitation from Saturday. Civic activists have blamed Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar for transferring “an honest officer.”
Pardeshi has been transferred as Inspector General of Registrations and Controller of Stamps, Pune. Ratnagiri district collector Rajeev Jadhav will be the new PCMC commissioner, according to a list released by the state government. Pardeshi said, “I have received the transfer order.”
The government’s move has angered political parties, civic activists and many citizens in Pimpri-Chinchwad and even in Pune. As rumours of Pardeshi’s impending transfer surfaced over the past fortnight, some citizens had staged agitations. They have decided to intensify the stir till government cancels Pardeshi’s transfer orders. Rallies were held, signature campaigns carried out and Netizens have vented ire. Social activist Anna Hazare, too, had warned the government against transferring Pardeshi before he completed his mandatory three-year term.
Political parties such as the BJP, the Shiv Sena, the MNS and the Aam Aadmi Party have decided to start an indefinite agitation at PCMC headquarters in Pimpri from 10 am on Saturday. The parties will gherao PCMC headquarters and have also said the Pune-Mumbai highway would be blocked.
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“We condemn the transfer of Shrikar Pardeshi in unequivocal terms. An officer who had put a halt to corruption which was going on for decades in civic corridors has been transferred by the Congress-NCP regime. It clearly shows that these two parties were badly hurt by the actions taken by Pardeshi. In the past one-and-a-half years, Pardeshi has not allowed even one paisa to be misused. This has clearly not gone down well with the rulers…” alleged BJP leader Eknath Pawar.
Shiv Sena leader Sarang Kamtekar said, “We are shocked by the insensitivity shown by the Congress-NCP government. Despite public protests in Pimpri-Chinchwad for the past 15-20 days, the government has not paid heed…This shows the government does not care about public opinion,” he said. Kamtekar said Shiv Sainiks would gather in front of PCMC headquarters at 10 am on Saturday and will start an agitation that will not end till the state government cancels Pardeshi’s transfer order.
The Aam Aadmi Party said, “Gross injustice has been done to Pimpri-Chinchwad. For the first time in many years, the functioning of PCMC had become people-friendly and corruption was down to zero…The role of corporators had been minimised after Pardeshi introduced SARATHI. If this was not outstanding work, what was? This is clearly a punishment not only for Pardeshi, but also for residents of Pimpri-Chinchwad,” said Maruti Bhapkar, Pune coordinator of AAP. Bhapkar said they would soon call for a bandh in Pimpri-Chinchwad.
Civic activists said Pardeshi’s transfer has happened not only because he curbed corruption but also because he demolished several illegal constructions. “The NCP has been rattled. Pardeshi has even refused to listen to NCP MLAs who have held several agitations…This is why Ajit Pawar has pressured government to transfer Pardeshi,” alleged Shridhar Chalkha, a civic activist. “The government move is shocking… I never thought officers would be transferred for doing good work,” said Swate Mote, a homemaker from Bhosari.