Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Friday urged the Pune divisional commissioner, Pune district collector, municipal commissioners of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad and the zilla parishad CEO to call up MPs and MLAs every day and update them about the Covid-19 situation in their respective jurisdiction.
“All top officials should call MPs and MLAs and update them about the Covid-19 situation, decisions taken and directives issued, including ones related to containment zones. The people’s representatives should be taken into confidence and their suggestions should be strictly implemented,” Pawar told officials during the review meeting held at the commissionerate on Friday.
Pawar’s directives came after MLAs and MPs complained that journalists find out about updates about coronavirus cases before them.
Maval MP Shrirang Barne, who was present at the meeting, said all MPs and MLAs complained that the municipal commissioners and district officials never call them up to apprise them of the situation. “In my case too, the Pimpri-Chinchwad administration never called me up in three months and updated me…We are only updated when the district review meeting is held. This is what everyone complained,” he said.
Pune Municipal Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad said the civic body will have to do this additional work since MPs and MLAs are complaining. “Their basic complaint seems to be that we should inform them before the media is informed. Actually, when we are circulating our orders, presentations and coronavirus updates, it is sent to journalists and people’s representatives at the same time on the VIP group. So, the complaint made by MLAs and MPs is unfounded,” Gaikwad said.
“Now we will have to work as PRO…What we will have to do is, we will call them every day. Soon, the people’s representatives will get tired and ask us to update them on the group. That will solve our problem,” he said.
MP Barne said it is not necessary that they should be phoned every day. “We should be updated every few days, not necessarily every day,” he said. Responding to Barne’s allegations, Pimpri-Chinchwad Muinicipal Commissioner Shravan Hardikar said, “Henceforth, we will regularly keep in touch with local MLAs and MPs and keep them updated.”
At the meeting, Pawar said he calls up top officials early morning to keep himself updated. “Likewise, officials should also call up MLAs and MPs. They can ask their personal secretaries to do the calling work,” he said.
District Collector Naval Kishore Ram said, “I will take this directive positively. It will ensure effective communication between officials, MPs and MLAs. If MPs and MLAs want to stay updated, there is nothing wrong in it. They will be able share their inputs and feedbacks with administration, which will help in better handling of the current situation. Better communication and coordination is required at this juncture,” he said.
Ram said the divisional commissioner, Deepak Mhaisekar, will call three MPs while PCMC chief Shravan Hardikar will call the fourth MP. “I and ZP CEO Ayush Prasad will update rural MLAs while PMC and PCMC commissioners will update the city MLAs,” he said.
Health Minister Rajesh Tope said, “Officials should take MLAs and MPs into confidence and jointly launch initiatives to spread awareness among the people. It can be done through various mediums like advertising, display boards.”
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