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Code of conduct scramble: Finally, Babus and ministers find time to work

As soon as they realised the code of conduct would not allow them to pass any new proposals from the next day, Mantralaya officials returned to work and stayed till well past midnight to try and pass voter-friendly decisions

Babus and ministers scrambled to make some voter-pleasing decisions late in the night on Tuesday, as the election code of conduct kicked in from yesterday.

Departments such as urban development, home, revenue, tribal development, and PWD saw frantic activity.

As per the rule, no new decision or order can be announced during the code of conduct. Hence, officials rushed to pass orders before the code began.

“The late night rush was to issue various types of orders, mostly for transfers, postings, approval of tenders and work contracts,” said a Mantralaya official.

Failed bids
With the CM returning late from his Delhi and Nagpur tours, a decision couldn’t be taken on granting reservation status to the Maratha community. Neither could financial packages be doled out to a few central co-operative banks.

Pune CP Gulabrao Pol has been shunted to Mahavitaran, the state’s power distribution company, as chief vigilance officer. File pics ILE PICS
Pune CP Gulabrao Pol has been shunted to Mahavitaran, the state’s power distribution company, as chief vigilance officer. File pics

The Public Works Department (PWD) couldn’t float tenders for the Chhatrapati Shivaji Memorial off the Arabian Sea. “We had instructions from the top to float tenders before the code of conduct, but it was too late,” said an official.

The statue was promised a decade back by the Congress-NCP government, and its cost has spiralled to more than ten times the approved cost. During the 2009 LS polls, its design was approved and displayed at Mantralaya. But nothing further was done.

The home department, led by Home Minister RR Patil, managed to pass orders for promotions and transfers of senior police officers
The home department, led by Home Minister RR Patil, managed to pass orders for promotions and transfers of senior police officers

However, some did manage to squeeze in a few proposals. Officials at the urban development department stayed up till 1.30 am to approve various pending proposals (see box). An official said they had to report to their office early in the morning to issue orders for proposals approved in the night.

In the home department, the NCP had their way with the late transfer of Pune police commissioner Gulabrao Pol. A Congress choice, Pol had been under fire for the failed investigations of Dr Narendra Dabholkar’s murder.

Pol has now been shunted to Mahavitaran, the state power distribution company, as chief vigilance officer, with Ajit Pawar, who leads the energy department, as his boss. Along with Pol, other senior officers were also transferred.

MHADA gets a new chairman in a hurry
In a hurried move, CM Prithviraj Chavan appointed former Congress MLA Yusuf Abrahani as the new chairman of MHADA’s Mumbai board on Tuesday night, just 10 hours before the election code of conduct came into effect.

Yusuf Abrahani

“I was informed at 11.30 pm on Tuesday and the appointment was made at around 10 pm. I will assume the position from tomorrow,” said Abrahani.

The position had been vacant for two years after Amarjeet Singh Manhas’s term came to an end, but the state never showed any urgency in filling the chair. Abrahani had represented the Mankhurd constituency as an MLA from 2004 to 2009. - Varun Singh

Just in time

Home department, stayed up till 12 am
>> Approved transfer orders for Pune CP Gulabrao Pol, along with other senior officials such as K Venkatesan, Pradnya Saravade and D Kanakaratnam
>> Issued transfer orders to promote Himanshu Roy, Rashmi Shukla and Parambeer Singh to Addl DGP

Urban planning department stayed up till 1.30 am
>> Approved town planning proposals related to hike in FSI, de-reservation of plots etc

1.30 am
Time till which the officials at the urban development department stayed in office

9.45 am to 5.30 pm
Official working hours at Mantralaya

>> Tenders for Shivaji memorial fail to make the list
>> Decision on reservation for Maratha community not taken

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