A demolition drive started by E Ravindran, commissioner of the Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC), has gained considerable public support in Kalyan, but has not found similar backing from politicians.
In fact, the drive — which aims to decongest traffic at Shivaji Chowk — is taking on the rich and powerful. Among the 400 shops that are being razed there are those that belong to State Housing Minister Prakash Mehta’s cousin, along with Deputy Commissioner of Police Sanjay Jadhav’s office.
It is heartening to see that people power is bolstering support for the demolition drive, with citizens using social media urging people to support the commissioner. There are posters at several spots, urging people to support Ravindran. He is being compared to G Khairnar, who had first earned the moniker ‘demolition man’ after he also fearlessly demolished illegal constructions.
There is no greater morale booster or inspiration to continue with such good work than appreciation from the people. Their voices are loud and powerful, the muscle they flex, through sheer numbers, is considerable.
Yet, it is now up to the government to back the commissioner, give him adequate security and protection and, most importantly, ensure there is be no political interference in his work.
We have seen in the past that when officers exercise due diligence and take on the powerful, they are made to pay in different ways. Some times, it is a demotion, at other times - and this is most common - they are transferred and shunted out of the hotspot. It is a matter of great shame that they are made to leave simply because they are doing their duty with honesty.
Let people who take on the system be rewarded instead. At the very least, let’s ensure they can carry on without undue interference. In these times, when there is much discussion and focus on the fight against corruption and citizen power, let these phrases not just be lip service; let us support the men who fight for us. Carry on, commissioner.