Starting troublehttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/starting-trouble/

Starting trouble

The actual project,however,has been on the drawing board for more than a decade,having undergone two failed rounds of tendering,and many stages of designing and redesigning.

After several false starts and delays,the MSRDC has finally implemented the passenger water transport system through which people can commute to their workplaces in comfortable air-conditioned hovercrafts… but just on a greeting card. This year,Jaydatt Kshirsagar,chairman of MSRDC and cabinet minister,sent a 3-dimensional Diwali greeting card to media persons sporting a swanky black and yellow hovercraft gliding over the Arabian Sea depicting the passenger water transport system. The actual project,however,has been on the drawing board for more than a decade,having undergone two failed rounds of tendering,and many stages of designing and redesigning. Last year,citizens were hopeful when the project was finally brought back on track with the MSRDC finalising bids for the construction of terminals. However,it is now stalled again,awaiting a cabinet committee’s nod.

Talk time <\b>

AT least two ministers are always on their mobile phones when Cabinet meetings are in full swing. One of them — who also has a fetish for watches —obliges his ‘media friends’ who call him on his mobile and give him questions to be asked in the Cabinet. These questions are then directed towards the Chief Minister or other senior colleagues. The other,a senior minister from Congress,who was in the midst of a controversy recently,is also often busy. And this one carries not one,but two mobile phones,much to the chagrin of those who sit next to him. Their Cabinet colleagues wonder why the CM doesn’t ask them to keep phones shut when serious discussions are on.

‘Butler’ duty<\b>

Officers of the Property Cell of the Mumbai police crime branch are these days often seen silently simmering with rage. Along the long list of duties that these officers have to perform,they are now also entrusted with the task of walking Muzammil Tazdar,accused of money siphoning,to the toilet every time he has to relieve himself,and back to the lock-up. Tazdar needs constant help to move around as he had injured his leg last month after being run over by a bus while evading arrest. He was discharged from the hospital and arrested earlier this week.,but still has a rod in his leg. The frustrated cops dare not be rough with him for fear of harming him further. “Your butlers,aren’t we?” an officer was heard growling while staring at him from a safe enough distance for him not to hear the remark.

‘New’ workplaces<\b>

The sprawling new offices of the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister,as a part of the Mantralaya makeover,have become a tourist spot of sorts within Mantralaya. Both offices were gutted in a fire on June 21 last year and the renovation was completed last week. While DCM Ajit Pawar moved in to his swanky new workspace last week,CM Prithviraj Chavan is soon to follow suit. Meanwhile,curious staffers at the state secretariat and cabinet building are eager to have a look at the new offices and are approaching their friends from the Public Works Department,which is in charge of the renovation work,to be able to take a sneak peak. An official from the PWD department said Pawar used his new office on only one day last week after which he has been traveling in his constituency. In his absence,PWD staffers have been obliging to all the requests and taking others around to take a look. The new offices,spread over 13,500 sq feet and 11,500 sq feet for the CM and DCM respectively are significantly different from what they used to be earlier,with state of the art conference rooms,contemporary interiors and architectural efficacy.

Leave without pay <\b>

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Nine years after taking a medical leave to nurse an injury,a medical superintendent in one of the civic body’s peripheral hospitals is yet to get his salary for that leave. The official had taken a six-month leave when he was a medical officer in one of the civic hospitals in 2004. Since then,he says,he has climbed up the hierarchy to become a senior medical officer and now a medical superintendent,but even his seniority has done little to help him in claiming his salary for the medical leave. “It took three years to sanction my medical leave. In 2007,BMC sanctioned it but did not pay me the salary. Now even after seven years,I am waiting for the salary,” the medical superintendent said. “I became MS two months back and have written letters to BMC for my salary. Lets hope now they respect my position and give it.”