'BMC chief hadn't meant to suspend guards for traffic jam'

Aug 03, 2018, 08:26 IST | A Correspondent

BMC revokes the suspension of guards who were penalised after top boss Ajoy Mehta got stuck in traffic for minutes

'BMC chief hadn't meant to suspend guards for traffic jam'
Municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta

For most of us, spending hours in a traffic jam is just another day of life in Mumbai. But when civic chief Ajoy Mehta gets stuck even for a few minutes, heads begin to roll. Four security guards from the BMC headquarters were suspended after Mehta's car got stuck in traffic on Monday. After news spread of the suspension, however, the civic administration revoked the action yesterday, and clarified that some confusion had led to the action.

According to the sources, the incident took place on Monday afternoon near the BMC head office near the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT), on a street that connects Dr D N Marg to Mahapalika Marg. The very next day, four security guards —three men and a woman — were handed suspension letters for "negligence of duty." The letter mentioned that when Mehta was leaving for his residence at Malabar Hill, his car got stuck for a few minutes as there was no security guard present near gate number 4.

However, an official from the municipal commissioner's office stated that Mehta had merely directed the chief security officer to take care of the chaos on that particular stretch, and had not ordered any suspension.

"After the incident, Mehta called the chief security officer and asked him to fix the situation. Following this, CCTV footage was checked and it was found that no security guard was present at the site. After this, the chief security officer issued suspension orders for the four guards, pending inquiry," said the official.

It wasn't their job
Speaking to mid-day, another official from the security department said, "Three out of four suspended security guards were from the rifle section (provided weapons to guard the BMC gates). They had nothing to do with clearing the traffic. It was absolutely wrong to hold them responsible for the delay."

The source added, "This street has long been a nightmare, as parking on both sides leaves only one lane for vehicular moment, but vehicles ply in both directions. It needs a permanent solution, as most of the vehicles belong to BMC officers and corporators. The problem increased after the Azad Maidan parking lot was shut due to Metro work."

Another official said that last month, the commissioner's car was stuck at the same stretch for nearly 20 minutes. At the time, a circular was issued in the security department to keep the path clear of traffic.

Mehta's office says
The municipal commissioner's office stated, "The commissioner faced this many times, after which he issued an order to improve the traffic situation. There was no suspension order from him. It appears that this suspension happened because of some confusion. We have ordered to revoke the suspension immediately."

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