On Friday, for the first time in 10 years, Navi Mumbai saw a huge rally cum morcha, which was organised by the district’s Congress party members to protest against the corruption in the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC). Around 5,000 Congress party workers participated in the rally raising slogans against the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which is the ruling party at NMMC.
The Congress leaders in the rally primarily targeted excise minister, NMMC, Ganesh Naik. They alleged that Naik and his family have looted taxpayers’ money by indulging in corruption through various projects undertaken by the corporation.
“NMMC was forced to build a bridge at Bonkode that cost the corporation a significant amount of money. However, no one uses the bridge except Naik and his family, to reach his party office. The corporation has been dancing on the tune of Naik’s family that has led to many corrupt practices,” alleged Santosh Shetty, a Congress corporator of NMMC.
Ramakant Mhatre, former mayor of NMMC, claimed that the Navi Mumbai NCP unit has earned huge sums of money by increasing expenditure on various projects. He criticised Municipal Commissioner Bhaskar Wankhede. “When the construction of the Thane-Belapur road began, the cost was estimated at Rs 55 crore. By the time construction was over, expenses totalled Rs 110 crore. Similarly, the cost of the Children Park’s in Nerul was doubled after Naik suggested some changes,” alleged Mhatre.
“The Municipal Commissioner, however, has taken no action against the ruling NCP for their malpractices. If he does not take firm action against the corrupt NCP officials, we will blacken his face as part of our protest,” he continued.
The president of Navi Mumbai District Congress, Dasharath Bhagat, raised the issue of the mechanised sweeping project. He blamed the corporation for causing unemployment. “The manual sweeping of the roads in Navi Mumbai could have been done for just Rs 3 crores but the corporation wasted Rs 77 crores on mechanised sweeping. Apart from the wastage of taxpayers’ money, the mechanised sweeping machine is going to render a huge number of grade four workers unemployed,” he complained.