A drama ensued on Monday after Congress corporators gheraoed and allegedly confined around seven officials of Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC), alleging that the workers were ignoring the civic problems of Navalnagar area in the city. A civic officer lodged a complaint with the police over the incident, even as the Congress leaders claimed they were merely making a representation to the officials.
The incident began after residents of Street-9 in Navalnagar gathered to protest against what they claimed apathy of the RMC regarding sanitation and street lighting. The residents called their local Congress corporators Jagruti Dangar, Sanjay Ajudiya, Vijay Vank, who then met the RMC deputy engineers and their subordinates to discuss the issue at a local Shiva temple. During this time, someone locked the front gate of the temple premises. The drama went on for about one-and-a-half hours until the leader of opposition, Vashram Sagathiya, and senior officers of RMC intervened.
Hours later, Harising Vasava, one of the deputy engineers, submitted an application to Malavaiyanagar police station, alleging he and six others were confined by unidentified persons in the temple. However, police had not registered an FIR in this connection till late evening.
Sagathiya claimed the Congress corporators had called the civic officers merely to represent their grievance. “There is no question of locking anybody inside the temple premises or restraining the officers as Congress corporators themselves were also inside the temple at the same time and were making a representation about the issues of their wards. Nobody was confined or restrained,” Sagathiya said, adding that top civic officers had forced the deputy engineer to give the application to police.
Sagathiya said the civic officers were dilly-dallying over public complaints about basic amenities. “The local residents have been complaining about overflowing drains and non-functional street lights for the past two years. The local RMC officers have been sending them running from pillar to post, saying the area does not fall under their jurisdiction. Officers of Ward 12 would say it was not their duty. Similar would be the replies of officers of Ward 13. The corporators have made many representations to the municipal commissioner also, but to no avail,” Sagathiya said.
However, municipal commissioner Banchhanidhi Pani said the behaviour of the Congress corporators were unacceptable. “There may be problems in an area but that does not mean people can behave that way. If their problems were not solved at that level, they should have met city engineer, deputy municipal commissioner or me. But they didn’t do that and instead confined the engineers. It is illegal and we have filed a police complaint,” Pani told The Indian Express.
City police commissioner Anupam Singh Gehlot said they would inquire into the matter. “We will act based on the application that they have given. We shall conduct an inquiry. But prima facie, we are told there was no problem there,” Gehlot said.