FED up with the unchecked “misuse” of its delivery system for official communications at the hands of corporators, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has now refused to provide the facility to anyone, including elected representatives and mayors. Citing election code, the civic administration has now asked everyone to distribute festive greeting cards through their own communication channels.
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Mayor Prashant Jagtap, along with several other sitting corporators, urged the municipal secretary’s department on Wednesday to arrange for deliveries of festive greetings through the daily system for delivery of official communication by hand. However, the request was turned down by the civic administration, citing the election code of conduct ahead of the Legislative Council elections.
“Many corporators, including office-bearers, have been urging the municipal secretary’s department to distribute their Diwali greeting cards through the civic system of hand delivery of official communication. We have refused their request as it would be a violation of the election code to allow the use civic facilities by elected representatives…,” said municipal secretary Sunil Parkhi.
“The greeting cards of the corporators mention the name of the political party and the party symbol of the respective leader,” he said, adding that this could be treated as a kind of publicity of that particular party or leader, which is a violation of the code.
“We would deliver the Diwali greetings or any other communication by office-bearers if there is no mention of their political party and symbol. But, unfortunately no one comes out with greeting cards without the name of their party,” Parkhi said.
The office of the municipal secretary is responsible for holding meetings of civic general body and various committees as per the provisions of the Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporation (BPMC) Act.
The department also organises various civic functions of felicitations, inaugurations and celebrations. For conveying information of meetings and civic functions, the municipal secretary has a dedicated staff that does hand delivery of official communications which includes letters and invitations to corporators, prominent personalities, legislators, Members of Parliament at their offices or residences across the city.
The Indian Express had recently reported about how municipal secretary’s office had turned into a kind of courier service with the elected representatives misusing civic facility for distributing their personal mails.
For years, civic officials had been pointing out the misuse of this official service at the hands of the corporators.
Meanwhile, the delivery staff at the PMC expressed gratitude over the decision.
“It was wrong that we were made to deliver personal communications of elected representatives. The elected representatives saved their money on courier and postal by using the civic facility. It was getting difficult to handle the additional workload. The election code has come as a big relief to us,” said a staffer.
If the PMC staff had delivered the personal greeting cards of the elected representatives, then it would have been in trouble as the rivals of the particular leader might use it to file a complaint of code violation, officials said.