A cold war seems to be brewing between Thane guardian minister Ganesh Naik and Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) commissioner Abasaheb Jarhad, in the wake of a proposal to clip financial wings of civic chief that is under planning, sources close to the development have revealed.
Municipal commissioner Jarhad has, however, feigned ignorance to the developments, saying, “I am not aware of such things, but it is true that the mayor has convened a meeting.”
The state government has empowered the municipal commissioner to sanction works ranging from Rs5 lakh to Rs25 lakh.
A confidential meeting between corporators of the civic body and guardian minister Naik was held recently (Tuesday, December 3) in the city, wherein sources said, “There was a discussion on moving a proposal to clip the financial powers of the civic chief to clear works in a range of Rs5 lakh to Rs25 lakh and then send this proposal to the urban development department. The reason given was that the general body or standing committee is not aware of the works that are sanctioned by the commissioner and so should be tabled before general body.”
Sources said, “Jarhad has proved to be a man of inconvenience for the ruling party since he has been clearing files within legal framework and if anything does not fit the bill, the files are kept pending for necessary compliances. This seems to have disturbed NCP in general and the guardian minister in particular, as a result plans are afoot to clip this financial powers of the commissioner.”
As per the existing practice, the municipal commissioner is authorised to clear works in a range of Rs5 lakh to Rs25 lakh. These are later tabled before the standing committee for their knowledge.
“Earlier, civic chiefs cleared files based on the diktat of their political bosses. However, Jarhad has proved to be an exception; he began keeping file clearance in abeyance for want for necessary compliances and did not clear the files till it met all legal requirements,” said the source.
Jarhad, after taking charge, had also made it clear that he will accord work as per priority and cut down on unnecessary expenses.
Earlier too, Jarhad had taken on the mighty system when he forced mayor Sagar Naik to include administration’s proposals for road works in the general body agenda. Taking cognizance of potholed roads, the Bombay high court had asked the civic body to prepare an action plan for pothole-free roads during next year’s monsoon. However, the mayor had refused to take up the proposal during a general body meeting, it was then that Jarhad took on the mayor, saying, if the proposal for road repairs was not cleared then other proposals (refer proposals of NCP corporators) will also not be taken up. This had forced the mayor to include road repair works in general body agenda.