BJP corporators clash with civic chief over cut on ward-level spending

PUNE A confrontation between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and municipal commissioner Vikram Kumar ensued on Tuesday, with elected members refusing to attend the standing committee meeting
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Published on Sep 07, 2021 10:06 PM IST
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By Abhay Khairnar

PUNE A confrontation between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and municipal commissioner Vikram Kumar ensued on Tuesday, with elected members refusing to attend the standing committee meeting.

The move came after Kumar said he is not ready to allow spending as an allocation under the “budget of elected members”.

Despite instructions from mayor Murlidhar Mohol and standing committee chairman Hemant Rasane, the commissioner has remained firm and has cut down the budgets for wards.

Rasane said, “We are confused that despite instructions from the mayor and me, the commissioner has remained firm. He has continued with the existing revenue committee which was formed during Covid given the shortage of money at the time. This committee takes a call on spending. We have already asked that this committee be scrapped as it was temporary. “

According to Rasane, PMC has earned a record revenue in the last five months - almost Rs2,800 crore.

“We are hoping to get better revenue in the coming seven months and are asking the administration to start administrative work and float tenders. If there is fall in revenue, then the administration can decide on whether to issue a work order or not,” said Rasane.

This is the second time the BJP has accused the PMC chief of not cooperating, the last clash being in August.

Rasane said, “Last year we asked the urban development department about spending as the government had restrictions due to Covid. The state government clearly said that as the PMC is spending its own money, it can consider new projects.”

An official from the administration, speaking anonymously, said that the commissioner is firm on his stand of cutting down ward-level works as “most are either a duplication or unnecessary”.

A senior corporator, also requesting his name be withheld, said, “Because of the upcoming elections, elected members are getting hyper.”

Another elected member, also speaking anonymously, suggested that this fighting is not for development work, but over the loss of commissions on tenders awarded.

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Sunday, October 24, 2021