There was high drama at a board meeting of PMPML directors held on Friday, when PMPML Chairman and Managing Director Tukaram Mundhe reportedly “lost his cool”, and told the others, “Mala nahi chalvaychi PMPML, tumhi chalva tumhala jashi chalvaychi…”(I don’t want to run PMPML, you can run it the way you want to…). Irked at his behaviour, Pimpri-Chinchwad’s BJP unit has taken up the matter with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
During the meeting, PCMC Standing Committee Chairperson Seema Savale urged Mundhe to start a special bus service for women in Pimpri-Chinchwad. According to Savale, Mundhe said such a bus service was already in operation, but she insisted that no such service existed. The PMPML chief than sought a clarification from two of his officials, who confirmed that such a bus service was in operation. Savale said she insisted that such a bus service was not available in Pimpri-Chinchwad. “Every year, girls in Pimpri-Chinchwad have to resort to Gandhigiri in buses to ward off harassers..,” she told Mundhe.
According to Savale, when she refused to relent, Mundhe picked up a file that was in front of him and banged it on the table. He then got up and offered to give up his post, she claimed. “He said run PMPML the way you want to…” said Savale. The PCMC panel chief added, “It is highly inappropriate for an officer to pick up a file and bang it on the table…”. Pune Municipal Corporation Mayor Mukta Tilak and Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation Mayor Nitin Kalje, both directors on the PMPML board, were present at the meeting. Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Commissioner Shravan Hardikar objected to Mundhe’s “behaviour” and asked him to calm down, while PMC Standing Committee Chairman Murlidhar Mohol also expressed disapproval, said those present at the meeting.
Mundhe then reportedly said he had complete information about the routes on which buses for women are run. “… He asked his officials to name the routes. The officials named six routes and all were within PMC jurisdiction,” said Savale. Realising his mistake, Mundhe reportedly apologised. “He said sorry… and I accepted it…I told him that he was an honest officer but he should have respect for the people and people’s representatives,” she said. Pune Mayor Mukta Tilak said all board members had objected to Mundhe’s behaviour and asked him not to leave the meeting in a huff.
“Certainly, his behaviour was not appropriate,” she said. When queried if he had lost his temper at the meeting, Mundhe refused to comment, but said he had not banged a file on the table. The PMPML chief said he didn’t understand why details of the transport body’s board meeting were being made public. “… I am here to improve the services of the PMPML, that’s what I am doing…,” he said. According to officials, Mundhe had not responded to the PCMC panel’s request to come to Pimpri-Chinchwad and understand commuters’ grievances.
Savale said after Friday’s meeting, she told Mundhe that he will have to come to the PCMC. “Initially, he resisted, then he said he will convey the date later,” she said. When queried, Mundhe said he had not committed to anything on this issue. “My officers are there to look into any complaints,” he said, adding that at Friday’s meeting, all grievances of the PCMC were discussed. Savale claimed that the PCMC has, over the years, given the PMPML over Rs 500 crore, yet the bus service in Pimpri-Chinchwad continued to be “pathetic”. “We want to know why commuters in Pimpri-Chinchwad are getting a raw deal,” she said. BJP general secretary Sarang Kamtekar said the party has taken the matter to the Chief Minister’s Office. “Whatever happened has been conveyed to the CM,” he said.