A demolition drive started by E Ravindran, commissioner of the Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC), has started to gain public support in Kalyan, even as certain politicos in the city are opposing it.
400 shops have been razed in the demolition drive so far. Pics/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
The drive, which is currently going on at Shivaji Chowk to decongest traffic, aims at demolishing around 400 shops in the area. Ravindran is not sparing anyone in his mission and has also demolished shops belonging to State Housing Minister Prakash Mehta’s cousin, along with Deputy Commissioner of Police Sanjay Jadhav’s office.
But, Kalyan residents are in full support of Ravindran. The residents, who are happy about the road from Shivaji Chowk to Mahatma Phule Market being widened to 90ft, have also opened a ‘Support KDMC Commissioner E Ravindran’ page on Facebook. A Twitter handle @supportravindran has also been created. Posters supporting Ravindran can be seen at every chowk in Kalyan.
One of the posters supporting E Ravindran, KDMC Commissioner
Sunil Nair, a Kalyan resident, compared Ravindran with ‘demolition man’ Govind Khairnar, who is remembered for brazenly demolishing illegal constructions in the city. “The people are afraid the commissioner will be transferred, as he has taken on the minister. They promised a ‘Smart City’ during the elections, but are now afraid of losing their vote bank of the Gujarati shopkeepers,” said Dinesh Indulkar, a local.
E Ravindran, KDMC Commissioner
Politicos oppose the drive
However, Ravindran has not been receiving support from the political side. Since January 9, Kalyan has been rife with rumours of the commissioner getting transferred. This move is reportedly set to happen since the commissioner did not listen to Prakash Mehta, who had allegedly called him on behalf of the shopkeepers, asking him to go slow on the demolition.
Among the 400 shops demolished by KDMC, a shop belonging to Prakash Mehta’s cousin has been razed. A wall in Kalyan DCP Sanjay Jadhav’s office has also been torn down. Certain old shops like the Karachi Medical, Ratna Jewellers, Samarth bookstore, etc have managed to get a stay on the demolition till January 11. They have promised that they will carry out the demolition on their own.
Before taking on the KDMC commissioner’s post in July 2015, E Ravindran was the collector of Sindhudurg. He is the first IAS officer to become KDMC commissioner, despite opposition from the Shiv Sena, which did not want an IAS officer as the commissioner.