Opposition parties created a ruckus at the Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) main building yesterday in protest against Assistant Municipal Commissioner Naresh Zurmure alleged comments censuring the city’s residents for their callousness towards water usage.
Members of the main opposition party Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) burnt an effigy of Zurmure outside the PMC building, while members of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha painted Zurmure’s nameplate outside his cabin black.
The General Body (GB) meeting scheduled for yesterday was also disrupted forcing Mayor Vaishali Bankar to hold proceedings of the house.
Following the uproar, Zurmure tendered a written apology by circulating a letter at the general body meeting stating that he did not intend to hurt Puneites’ feelings.
In the deep end
Two days ago, at a meeting with citizens to discuss PMC’s environmental status report, Zurmure said that Puneites are become ‘arrogant’ while using water. The statement ruffled the feathers of the Opposition parties who demanded that Zurmure should be removed from his post.
“Instead of commenting about the citizens’ highhandedness, the civic administrators should first reduce their ‘arrogance’. They [PMC] took a decision to cut water supply even though the dams have sufficient water,” said Vasant More, MNS group leader in PMC. He further said that civic servants passing such remarks at a public event only echoed the ruling party’s views.
Incidentally, no ruling party member was present in the house during the high voltage drama created by the Opposition parties.
“Before making such a statement Zurmure should recall the cooperation by Puneites when they were facing a water crisis due to shortage of rain in the district. Zurmure has insulted the citizens, and he should be transferred even though he has tendered an apology,” said Ganesh Ghosh, president of Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha.
Zurmure was unavailable to provide a clarification on his statement, but it is learnt that he circulated a statement denying making any controversial statements. However, to avoid any further hue and cry, he expressed an apology by dispatching an apology letter at the GB meeting.
Meanwhile, Zurmure going on a 10-day leave has become a topic of discussion. According to PMC sources, after the controversy erupted Zurmure has either asked for a 10-day leave to save himself from the Opposition’s wrath or has been directed to take a leave.
“Such controversial issues subside within 8 to 10 days, and therefore to avoid any further controversy, the administrator who makes any controversial statement is sanctioned with a long leave,” said Vivek Velankar, a social and Right to Information activist.