Mumbai municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta has found himself caught in a tug of war between the Bharatiya Janata Party and its ally Shiv Sena. Recently, an inquiry conducted by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai found that a staggering 70% of nullah cleaning work was not done by the contractors. After these findings, Shiv Sena had sought the resignation of the municipal commissioner. But on Saturday, Mumbai BJP came out in full support of Mehta.
“The municipal commissioner was instrumental in digging out corruption of Rs 220 Crore. And now they want him out. The Standing Committee chairperson has sought his resignation. This is wrong. BJP will not support this. In fact, when the desilting work had begun, we were the first ones to visit the spot and point out irregularities,” said advocate Ashish Shelar, Mumbai BJP president.
He claimed that many irregularities were pointed out including weighing of the debris, numbering of the weighing scales. The nullahs are cleaned and desilted regularly. Especially before the onslaught of monsoon, their clearing is given top priority to avoid flooding. Every year, Mumbai is flooded during monsoon, even as people cry foul against the contractors who do a shoddy job. Corruption allegations have been levelled several times against them and the local leaders and municipality officials. This year, scanty monsoon saved Mumbai from the fury of flooding. But the inquiry indicted the contractors for failing to desilt and clear the nullahs. “It is in the interest of people that political parties don’t support corrupt contractors,” Shelar said.
He also questioned the Shiv Sena’s move of opposing BJP’s decisions at every stage. “Why did it oppose the installation of LED lights? They are a cheap, environment-friendly option. Currently, when there is tremendous load on public transport system, the Chief Minister has been expeditiously clearing proposals for Metro. That is being opposed too,” he said. With reference to the recent comments of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray that the next Chief Minister of Maharashtra will be a Shiv Sainik, he said that the Sena shouldn’t forget that the next mayor of Mumbai can be from BJP.