BJP plans no-confidence motion against Panvel’s municipal commissioner

BJP’s group leader in the house Paresh Thakur alleged that the commissioner has presented a misleading budget for the city

mumbai Updated: Mar 14, 2018 16:57 IST
G. Mohiuddin Jeddy
G. Mohiuddin Jeddy
Hindustan Times
Differences between the ruling BJP and the Panvel Municipal Corporation (PMC) municipal commissioner Sudhakar Shinde, have come to a boil now. (HT FILE)

Differences between the ruling BJP and the Panvel Municipal Corporation (PMC) municipal commissioner Sudhakar Shinde, have come to a boil now. The party has declared that it will bring a no-confidence motion against Shinde for which a special general body meeting will be convened.

BJP’s group leader in the house Paresh Thakur, officially declared on Monday that the party will take up the no-confidence motion against Shinde. He alleged that the commissioner has presented a misleading budget for the city and that little work is being taken up for the development of Panvel.

Shinde presented a Rs516-crore PMC budget for the year 2018-19 on March 7. The BJP has questioned the budget estimates and allocations during a discussion in the PMC standing committee.

Its members questioned the revenue source stating in the budget, where property tax accounts for 20% of the revenue, the civic body has no record of the residential, commercial and industrial property. They claimed that the administration had not given satisfactory replies.

“The commissioner has failed on all fronts. The budget makes no sense and the figures announced have no basis. The condition of the roads, sewage and water in the city have not improved,” Paresh Thakur.

“There is no development plan of the city yet and the absence of ward committees is preventing people’s work,” he added.

“We will soon call for special general body meeting in which we will pass a no-confidence motion against the commissioner. We will ask the government to transfer him and give us a new commissioner,” Thakur said.

While Shinde refused to comment on the BJP’s plan, opposition leader Pritam Mhatre said, “The commissioner is working day and night for Panvel’s development. It is obvious that he is not allowing the ruling party to run the corporation as its private company and that is what is irking them.”

He declared, “We will standby by the commissioner and so will the people of Panvel.

HT had in November last year reported that BJP was planning to bring a no-confidence motion against Shinde. Paresh Thakur is the son of former MP Ramseth Thakur and brother of Panvel MLA Prashant Thakur. There have been reports in recent times of the Thakurs exerting pressure at Mantralaya and on chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, to get Shinde transferred. The Thakurs have been lobbying for an Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer to be posted as the PMC commissioner. Shinde is an Indian Revenue Services (IRS) officer.

PMC municipal commissioner had walked out in a huff following ruling party’s allegations

On February 21, a day after an upset Thane municipal commissioner Sanjeev Jaiswal asked the civic corporators to pass a no-confidence motion against him so that he could be transferred, it was the turn of PMC commissioner Sudhakar Shinde to get upset.

Following relentless targeting of the administration and the commissioner in the general body meeting, by the BJP corporators, Shinde walked out of the meeting in a huff.

The BJP had during the meeting alleged that the civic officials had become lethargic and doing little work. They accused the commissioner of turning a blind eye even as the officials slept.

The opposition Peasant and Workers Party (PWP) too later staged a walkout, blaming the ruling party for the state of affairs and declaring their support for Shinde.

Following the meeting, the BJP held a press conference in which they castigated the commissioner alleging that he has been working in a biased manner and taking selective action in the city.

When contacted, Shinde had refused to comment, stating, “I am doing my job to the best of my ability in the interest of the people. Don’t know why such attacks then.”

Who is Sudhakar Shinde?

A 2007-batch IRS officer, Sudhakar Shinde is the first commissioner of the newly-founded PMC, who was appointed on October 1, 2016.

Five-and-a-half months in the office, he was abruptly transferred on March 15, 2017, after the election commission order because he is the brother of Maharashtra water conservation minister Ram Shinde.

At the time, it was alleged that Shinde’s decisions undermined interests of some BJP leaders. The BJP leaders vehemently denied the allegation. Residents started signature campaigns and online petitions and held indefinite fast. Shinde had during his short stint in Panvel brought about drastic changes in the region that has been beset with encroachments and illegal construction, unhygienic conditions and violation of civic norms.

During his tenure, he did not take any leave even on Sundays. After his transfer, the menace of encroachments and illegal construction returned to the city. Shinde was reinstated as PMC commissioner on May 30, 2017, after civic elections.

Recent reports suggest local BJP leaders are making efforts at the Mantralaya and on chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to get Shinde transferred.

There are online petitions and signature campaigns being undertaken by residents currently in support of the commissioner.

First Published: Mar 13, 2018 14:15 IST