Sources say Dr Ravinder Kumar Singal, known for being an efficient administrator who cracked down on graft, was transferred because a powerful community in Ghatkopar complained to a minister that he was not allowing private functions to be held at the local railway ground
The GRP seems to have lost one of its most-efficient and most-loved commissioners over something as trivial as a railway ground not being given out for marriage and other private functions.
The railway ground in Ghatkopar (East). Sources said the ground was a favourite among families arranging marriage functions as hiring it used to cost just Rs 75,000 a day compared to nearly Rs 35 lakh for banquet halls in the area. (Insert) Dr Ravinder Kumar Singal
If sources are to be believed, Dr Ravinder Kumar Singal was transferred barely six months after taking office because members of a community, which is a strong political force in Ghatkopar, complained to a state minister that the local railway ground was not being given out for private functions ever since Singal took over.
Interestingly, in the week following his transfer announcement on April 13, two private functions were held at the ground. Officials said Singal, whose name figured in the recent reshuffling of 37 IPS officers, did a lot of work for the Government Railway Police in his brief stint as commissioner. Known for his no-nonsense attitude, he used to help people promptly and cracked down on corruption in the department.
These were some of the reasons why GRP staff, activists and even commuters had taken to the roads to protest against his transfer. According to sources, the Ghatkopar railway ground is not only the biggest ground in the area but is also the biggest railway ground in the city. It has a lot of open space, with ample parking and other facilities.
This, and the fact that hiring the ground used to cost just R75,000 against the nearly R35 lakh charged by banquet halls and other grounds in the area, made it a favourite for families organising wedding functions. “The people in the area used to prefer holding functions in the railway ground as it was a very cost-effective option.
Instead of giving over Rs 35 lakh to other halls in the area, they would be able to spend Rs 10-15 lakh on decorating the ground properly. In addition, all facilities were available in the railway ground, including ample parking space, which is not available at other grounds.”
When Singal took charge as the GRP commissioner, the cost of hiring the ground was hiked to Rs 2 lakh, with the amount collected going towards police welfare. Sources said that the proposals for holding wedding and other functions at the railway ground were also not cleared because Singal felt that people did not take care of the ground and dirtied it, and a state sports championship was supposed to be held there.
These decisions allegedly infuriated members of the community, who met the minister and asked for Singal’s transfer. Sources say the community’s political and economic clout ensured that their complaint was given priority and Singal’s name was included in the list of transfers announced last week.