Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta has reportedly turned the heat on bureaucrats overstaying in civic bungalows. After issuing a notice to Pravin Darade, the chief minister’s secretary, to shift out of one such bungalow in Malabar Hill, word is that he has now issued a similar ultimatum to former BEST chief Jagdish Patil. Mehta is having a tough time allotting accommodation to his new additional civic commissioner.
While the Fadnavis government is already facing criticism for levelling an accusation of bias against senior HC judge AS Oka over a bunch of petitions concerning noise pollution, sources in the administration claim there were serious differences within the government over the silence zones issue. The state has stated that no silence zones exist in Maharashtra at present. It appears that some senior bureaucrats had voiced dissent to this, but they were ignored.
Last March, the Narendra Modi government had advocated permitting the use of bureaucrats’ pictures in department-centric government advertisements during a court matter. But CM Devendra Fadnavis has a differing viewpoint. He has issued orders warning bureaucrats of action if found publicising their pictures in government advertisements. Quite clearly, the CM wants his officers to maintain a low profile.
Cooperatives minister Subhash Deshmukh has issued a diktat directing all profit-making non-housing cooperatives in the state to spend 20 per cent of their net profit on social and development work. With most cooperatives still under the control of the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party, the missive has led to raised eyebrows in political circles.
The Minister’s Son
Tales abound in the corridors of power on how the sons of three cabinet ministers in the Fadnavis government are exerting their influence in matters of governance. The buzz is that some harried bureaucrats have even brought this to the notice of the Chief Minister. Speculation is intense that at least two of them may be shown the door in the next cabinet reshuffle. Of the three ministers, one belongs to the BJP, while the remaining two are from the Shiv Sena.
The high-profile Thane civic chief Sanjeev Jaiswal has kicked off a ‘rent a cycle to work’ service in Thane as part of smart city initiatives. While Mumbai too has harboured such plans, the satellite city has achieved the milestone first. And while Shiv Sena’s heir apparent Aaditya Thackeray moved in quickly to claim credit for the civic initiative, nobody’s complaining. Hope Mumbai and other cities take a cue.