A day after passing a no-confidence motion against Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation Commissioner Tukaram Mundhe, Mayor Sudhakar Sonawane on Wednesday demanded his immediate recall by Chief Minister saying that the officer has lost all his right to head the civic body. “This officer was exercising his executive powers absolutely autocratically. He lost all the sense of democratic style of functioning and this is the reason why almost all the corporators cutting across party lines voted against him,” he said.
The motion was passed 105-6 at a special meeting convened by the NCP-ruled Corporation yesterday, which was chaired by Sonawane. This is the first time in the history of the civic body that such a motion has been passed against its commissioner. Mundhe, who was present in the House, later alleged that he was not allowed to put forth his side. Sonawane said the House has apprised the state government about the motion and demanded immediate recall of the officer and wants him to be replaced by another IAS officer.
“We informed the state government about the motion passed against the officer through an e-mail. We are going to send a hard copy of the decision today and hope that the Chief Minister would call the officer immediately to take action on our motion,” the Mayor said.
He said the section 36 (3) of Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporations Act, 1949 stipulates that if such a motion is passed by even 60 corporators, then administrative head should be sacked with immediate effect. To a question that Mundhe was targeted by politicians as he cracked whip on illegal activities that eventually clashed with the interests of the powerful lobby of politicians, Sonawane said, “These kind of allegations have no element of truth.
Only being honest does not mean everything. An officer who heads administrative things should have the capacity and ability to take every concerned stakeholder along with him. He or she cannot misuse the executive powers blatantly.” In 111-member NMMC, the Sharad Pawar-led party has the highest number of corporators and also holds post of Mayor whereas as the Deputy Mayor belongs to Congress.
Interestingly, the 16-member crucial standing committee is ruled by Opposition Shiv Sena. Yesterday, during the voting, the BJP opposed and voted against the no-confidence motion.
However, an unfazed Mundhe has said he would continue doing his job until further government orders. “I will continue doing my work until I am ordered not to do so by the state government. I had asked the Mayor to let me put my side in the House, but I was not given a chance to do so,” he alleged.
Known for his strict and upright decisions, Mundhe, for the first time in NMMC”s history, had proposed a survey to map properties falling under its limit. However, the survey was stonewalled for over 90 days by the unwilling corporators. Mundhe took this decision following an alleged “scam” wherein over 15,000 property owners allegedly found to have evaded paying property tax to NMMC over last decade. “I rationalised the tendering process system, cracked whip on illegal activities and have mechanised one of the best grievance redressal systems (in NMMC). People are very happy,” Mundhe had told PTI a day before the no confidence motion was proposed.
Local residents feel that Mundhe is an “upright officer” and he was being targetted for acting against illegal constructions supported by some corporators in the area.
“Ever since Mundhe took over as the civic body chief six months back, he has been going cracking against illegal constructions, mostly raised by these corporators, across Navi Mumbai. They are targeting him as he has put a full stop to the menace of illegal works,” said Ravi Srivastava, a local resident and activist.