Operation ‘Files’https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/operation-files/

Operation ‘Files’

There is hectic activity in the development plan department on the fifth floor of the BMC office as engineers and clerks run around,trying to locate old files and scan them.

There is hectic activity in the development plan department on the fifth floor of the BMC office as engineers and clerks run around,trying to locate old files and scan them. They say that higher-ups have given them the task to digitise tattered files,some of which have ink blots and torn pages. “A woman in the development plan department started getting chest pains due to this pressure. She has been in the hospital for four days,” an official in the department said. The flurried activity is the direct result of the civic administration’s decision that there would be a thorough investigation into reports that over 5,900 files have disappeared from the BMC since 2009. The BMC administration had said as per the Maharashtra Public Records Act,strict action — Rs 10,000 fine and up to five years imprisonment — will be taken against those found to have deliberately misplaced the files. “Now everyone gets scared even if one file cannot be located,” the official added.

CHANGE OF HEART

A taem of policemen with the Mumbai Police Crime Branch recently had an amusing experience in New Delhi. The team was in the city to pick up an accused in an ongoing case and had hired a car and a local driver to move around. An officer,who was part of the team,recounted that the driver casually zoomed through every red light as if it was the most natural thing in the world for the first two days of the Mumbai cops’ visit. By the third day,however,the driver had overheard enough to realise that he was ferrying policemen. Every red traffic light was respected from then on and the police team had fun repeatedly asking the driver about his sudden new-found sense of responsibility.

NO FREEWHEELING

Typically,bureaucrats and politicians allegedly enjoy themselves at the expense of official junkets at the cost of public coffers. But Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte can teach such bureaucrats a lesson or two. The commissioner,who had recently been on a foreign tour abroad to study solid waste management systems of the city,came back and realised that nothing much could be implemented in Mumbai. Seeing that the visit was almost a total waste,he opted to instead pay the amount spent on the visit from his pocket.

BUDDING ENTREPRENEUR

The city of Mumbai has always acted as a beacon for intrepid moneymakers. Their ilk,it is said,never loses a chance to sense an interesting business proposition. One of the latest entrants into this community recently saw an opportunity to make a quick buck from the throng that comes to Mantralaya every day. Many a member of this crowd are budding politicians who line up to meet leaders to get their work done. The intrepid entrepreneur has decided to target these people as his customer base and has started selling a directory with the phone numbers of all politicians and bureaucrats. The cost,according to the shorts-and-vest-wearing salesman,is a measly Rs 300,with a Rs 100 discount thrown in as a friendly gesture.

MLAs IN DELHI BUNGALOW?

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Is chief minister Prithviraj Chavan doing part-time work of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sitting here in Maharashtra? Is that the reason for the Cabinet sub-committee for housing to hand over the sprawling bungalow next to 7,Race Course to Chavan,even after he has relocated in Mumbai? Questions are being discussed in Congress and NCP headquarters in Maharashtra. The CM’s argument that the Union Cabinet sub-committee for housing has specially given the bungalow in Delhi to facilitate work related to Maharashtra has evoked sharp reaction within the ruling party. Meanwhile,the NCP is quick to point out why such benefits were never showered on former chief ministers like Sharad Pawar,Sushilkumar Shinde or Vilasrao Deshmukh. Now,elected members are wondering if they should ask Chavan to allow them access to the Delhi bungalow as it has been allocated for state work. Wonder,if CM will open the doors of his bungalow for Congress MLAs?