‘Stressed’ road dept chief quits | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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‘Stressed’ road dept chief quits

In the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), where retiring officers try everything they can to hold on to their jobs, the man heading the Road Department wants to quit immediately.

mumbai Updated: Oct 17, 2010 00:50 IST
Sujit Mahamulkar

In the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), where retiring officers try everything they can to hold on to their jobs, the man heading the Road Department wants to quit immediately. With just three months to retirement, this decision by A V Ralkar, chief engineer of the Roads Department, came, he said, because the stress and pressure have become too much and the current system did not allow him to do what he should be doing.

As the civic body did not accept his application for voluntary retirement, Ralkar is going on leave for three months. He retires on January 31.

The BMC’s roads department has been facing tremendous criticism over the bad state of its motorways. During and after the monsoon, the department drew flak for the innumerable potholes.

Officers working in the department said they were caught between the devil and the deep sea. “We do not have the flexibility to do what we should be doing. We do not decide funds and priorities, but when it comes to criticism, the entire blame is on us,” an official said.

This has left many in the department frustrated. Little wonder then that Ralkar – an officer with a reputation for efficiency – applied for voluntary retirement three months after he joined in February. This surprised many in civic circles, as the chief engineer’s is one of the most coveted posts in departments like building proposals, water supply and roads.

There have been instances that retiring officers have got extensions and stuck to the position for a long time.

“There is tremendous unjustified pressure on officers like Ralkar,” said BJP corporator Bhalchandra Shirsat, who raised the issue of political and public pressure on civic staff in the standing committee last Wednesday.

Ralkar confirmed that he had applied for VRS, but it was not accepted. “I was not permitted to leave four months ago because of the monsoon. I am going on leave from November.” He also said that this would not affect routine work as some other senior official would take charge from November 1.

The ruling Shiv Sena said it was aware of the issue.