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Saturday, July 21, 2018

Mumbai confidential: Turf War

Battle lines seem firmly drawn between ministers and bureaucrats in the Devendra Fadnavis government as Tourism Minister Jaykumar Rawal reportedly threatened action against MTDC’s Managing Director Vijay Waghmare on disciplinary grounds.

Updated: August 14, 2017 10:12:26 am
Mumbai confidential, devendra fadnavis government, Jaykumar Rawal, Vijay Waghmare, MTDC Maharashtra Tourism Minister Jaykumar Rawal

The uneasy relationship between ministers and bureaucrats in the Devendra Fadnavis government has hit a new low. Battle lines seem firmly drawn between Tourism Minister Jaykumar Rawal and MTDC’s Managing Director Vijay Waghmare, a 2004-batch IAS officer. So much so, that the minister has reportedly threatened action against Waghmare on disciplinary grounds and is not even inviting him to official MTDC meetings. The grapevine is that Rawal blames Waghmare for the negative media coverage over his recent trip to Germany. The two also had a face-off over the appointment of the Joint Managing Director of the MTDC.

Dress Code

Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar has made a fresh pitch to promote khadi. His office has made it mandatory for its employees to wear khadi to work every Tuesday. We are told that the minister is taking personal interest in ensuring the move’s implementation. Taking a cue from the Centre, the state had last May appealed to all Mantralaya employees to wear khadi to work at least once a week, but a majority of the bureaucrats and their subordinates are yet to make the switch, with some citing difficulties in ironing, starching and cleansing of the desi fabric.

Making The Most

Some retired bureaucrats seem to be making the most of the confusion among city developers over the Real Estate Regulatory Act. Former SRA chief Nirmalkumar Deshmukh, a 1996-batch IAS officer who retired from service last June, has set up a firm offering consulting services on RERA. Incidentally, Deshmukh’s name had been in contention for the post of a member on RERA. A former revenue department official is partnering Deshmukh in this new firm. A former BMC chief engineer too has set up a similar consultancy firm.

Settling Down

Edgard Kagan, the new U S Consul General in Mumbai, has just moved to the city with his wife, three kids, and a dog, but has already had a taste of the city’s horrendous traffic congestion. He was heard joking about it at a recent social event. “They say once you live in Mumbai, every other city seems slow,” Kagan said, explaining that he was still coming to terms with the crowded streets and the jam-packed roads. Kagan, however, is enjoying the city’s cultural mix. Chief Secretary Sumit Mullick, who was present for the event, welcomed him, not forgetting to mention how happy he was to welcome Kagan’s dog too.

Spelling Trouble

Controversial IAS officer Vishwas Patil has triggered a fresh headache for CM Devendra Fadnavis. The 1996-batch IAS officer, who has been in the news for all the wrong reasons since his retirement in June, has raised the allegation that a former top bureaucrat was offered Rs 7 crore to stall Patil’s move to head the Slum Rehabilitation Authority. While the bureaucrat in question has rubbished the allegation, the controversy has put question marks over the transfer process of the bureaucracy, giving the Opposition fresh ammunition to target the CM.

Biding Time

Devendra Fadnavis may have bought some time by ordering a Lokayukta-headed probe into the controversy involving housing minister Prakash Mehta, but doubts are already being raised about the probe. A key point around which the controversy revolves is Mehta’s noting saying that the chief minister had been briefed about the matter, which the latter has denied. It was pointed out that the office of the Lokayukta does not have the power to examine the chief minister.

Compiled by Sandeep Ashar and Tabassum Barnagarwala

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