SHIV SENA corporator Rajendra Suryawanshi was booked by the Shivaji Park police for allegedly assaulting a BMC employee over an argument over the ongoing drain de-silting work in his ward on Wednesday. The incident occurred a day after senior Sena leaders, including Mayor Snehal Ambekar, publicly announced that the civic administration and Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta would be responsible for any flooding incident this monsoon owing to delayed de-silting of drains.
The argument broke out in the office of Assistant Commissioner, G North, Ramakant Biradar, between Suryawanshi and sub-engineer Trittam Vanarase.
According to Biradar, Suryawanshi, who is also the chairman of the works committee, had asked him about the progress of the de-silting work in the ward the deadline for which would end in another 10-odd days.
Vanarase was called to the office subsequently. “He (Suryawanshi) asked me about the status of the nullah de-silting work and said it was not progressing as planned. When I told him that we needed more workers to finish the work on time, he assaulted me in front of the assistant commissioner,” said Vanarase.
Suryawanshi, however, rubbished the claims and denied having assaulted Vanarase. “I had taken a complaint about the sub-engineer to the assistant commissioner. Vanarase was called in and an argument ensued but I did not assault him physically,” said the corporator.
Biradar said 52 per cent of the de-silting work in 91 minor nullahs in G North ward was over. “Of the 18-km minor nullahs, work on 9.4 km is complete. Our ward has been allotted 6,800 man days for a month. We have 2,500 man days left and the given work force would use up 1,500 man days. Since our aim is to complete the work by May 25, the sub-engineer had asked the NGOs to give more men so that the work could be completed sooner,” he said.
Owing to the inquiry into the de-silting scam that surfaced last year and stringent tender conditions, contractors didn’t bid for the desilting of minor nullahs across the city this year, causing a delay in the undertaking of the work in all wards, which is now being completed under the supervision of ward-level officials.
Gangadhar Sonawane, senior police inspector, Shivaji Park, said, “The incident took place around 2 pm when Suryawanshi slapped a BMC official. We have registered a case in the matter and booked him on charges of Section 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty) under the Indian Penal Code.”