Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) commissioner Sanjeev Jaiswal is made of sterner stuff. After all, it's not every day that one earns the sobriquet of the no-nonsense Demolition Man out to change the cityscape. But, even the most tenacious amongst us need protection. The TMC, though, has taken it up a notch.
Thane Municipal Corporation Commissioner Sanjeev Jaiswal flanked by private security guards during an inspection of the road-widening project
It has hired five private security guards for Rs 2.92 lakh a month to protect Jaiswal and additional municipal commissioners Sunil Chavan and Ashok Kumar Rankam while overseeing civic initiatives like the ambitious road widening project, which entails several demolitions and protests.
Jaiswal will now have a possé of three private guards and five police personnel for security. Earlier, he had only a police constable as his security detail. Chavan and Rankam get one security guard each.
“Along with the bouncers, the commissioner has a gun squad of five personnel from the Thane police,” said a senior TMC official.
The new arrangement came into effect in the first week of April after the commissioner himself raised concerns over the poor security provided to top civic officials.
In February, an RTI activist attacked Sandeep Malvi, deputy municipal commissioner and TMC's public relations officer. On January 18, 2015, a Hindu Sena activist blackened Jaiswal’s nameplate at the TMC headquarters even as more than 50 police personnel and TMC security guards milled around. Last December, a man accosted Jaiswal on a service road in Ghodbunder and rained abuses on him. “In light of such incidents, we decided to provide him with private security guards,” said another TMC official.
Confirming his security detail, Jaiswal said the plan was spurred by the attacks on civic officials.
At a recent general body meeting of the TMC, Sena corporator Ashok Vaity had recommended security guards for other officers as well.
The TMC’s biggest initiative is its road widening project, which was undertaken over six months ago. The commissioner himself is overseeing most of the work. “We will complete the project before the monsoon. Over 200 people displaced by the project have been rehabilitated,” said TMC chief Sanjeev Jaiswal, who assumed office in January last year.
Jaiswal said the new road widening project takes off from his predecessor T Chandrashekar’s successful initiative. Chandrasekhar is credited with transforming the congested Ghodbunder Road into a four-lane thoroughfare in 1998. The road was concretised four years ago.