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5 Mumbai corporators barely attend civic body meetings as they find it unfruitful

Geeta Gawli, Archana Bhalerao, Parag Shah among those with lowest attendance; general body meets two to four times a month.

mumbai Updated: Jul 30, 2018 11:46 IST
Sagar Pillai
Sagar Pillai
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Mumbai corporators,BMC poor attendance
The BMC headquarters in Fort.(HT File Photo)

Geeta Gawli, a corporator of Akhil Bharatiya Sena (ABS) which is headed by gangster Arun Gawli, and Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Parag Shah, the ‘richest corporator’ in the city, have topped the list of lowest attendance in the general body meeting of the civic body.

Out of 97 meetings of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) held between April 2017 and March 2018, Gawli attended 25, while Shah attended 33. Gawli and Shah have 25% and 34% attendance respectively.

Apart from Gawli and Shah, corporator Archana Bhalerao of the Shiv Sena (who had taken two months leave), Sagar Thakur of the BJP and Alpa Jadhav of the Congress also have a poor attendance track record in the general body meetings.

The general body usually meets two to four times a month and is the highest decision-making body presiding over civic issues.

While Gawli is a three-time corporator from Byculla (ward 212), Shah has been elected from Ghatkopar (ward 132). Gawli’s ward includes Dagdi Chawl, the residence of gangster Arun Gawli, who is her father.

Shah shot to fame as the richest corporator according to the assets declared by him during the civic polls in February 2017. He is also a close confidant of state housing minister Prakash Mehta.

Replying to their poor attendance record, the corporators said they tend to skip general body meetings because they feel the meetings are not fruitful.

Starting his argument by claiming the meetings never begin on time, Shah said, “I have sat for two to three hours waiting for the meeting to start. Secondly, most of the times, there is just discussion on various issues that do not result in anything. I am in regular contact with citizens of my ward and I believe in working at the ward-level. Also, I do not miss discussions on issues which are related to my ward.”

Gawli, meanwhile, said that although her attendance is low, her performance is not. “I have been working very hard in my ward and my performance there has been good. I attend the meetings I am concerned with and am updated about the subjects discussed in the meetings. Also, I am the ward committee chairperson, so I get to work on specific issues related to my ward.”

Meanwhile, corporators Neil Somaiya of the BJP, Tulsiram Shinde and Suhas Vadkar of the Sena are among those who have a 100% attendance in the general body meetings of the civic body.

Milind Mhaske, project director, Praja Foundation said it is the primary job of corporators to attend meetings as they have been appointed to raise citizens’ issues with the administration. “The corporators are directly accountable for the citizens and their attendance is necessary in all meetings. The argument from the other side for poor attendance is that these meetings are not fruitful. Why don’t they raise this problem by attending the meeting?”

Mhaske also said corporators play a big role in raising issues of their ward and decision-making and they should utilise the platform to address the same.

First Published: Jul 30, 2018 11:45 IST