Monsoon fury in Nagpur leaves government red-faced

Jul 07, 2018, 09:30 IST | Dharmendra Jore

Day's work stalled as power supply to legislature cut off; Sena, Oppn slam BJP

Monsoon fury in Nagpur leaves government red-faced
Speaker Haribhau Bagde inspecting the drains on the Vidhan Bhavan premises

The rain that lashed Nagpur on Friday gave the Shiv Sena, which gets hammered every year for rain mismanagement in Mumbai, an opportunity to get even with the BJP-led government. The incessant rain not only caused power failure at the Vidhan Bhavan, which stopped work for the day because of it, but also left it water-logged. The BJP controls the Nagpur Municipal Corporation and Public Works Department, which look after the Vidhan Bhavan, ministers' cottages and MLA hostel, all of which were affected by the heavy rain.

What's more, it was the BJP that had shifted the monsoon session to Nagpur against the wishes of the Sena and Opposition parties. On Friday, the Sena and Opposition joined hands in slamming the ruling party for the embarrassing situation. Sena leader and ex-Mayor of Mumbai Sunil Prabhu, minister Divakar Raote and others took pot-shots at the BJP, wondering aloud if Nagpur was any different from Mumbai. They questioned the mismanagement of the infrastructure at Civil Lines and the rest of the city, which saw flooding, traffic snarls and life-threatening situations. Minutes before the houses could start functioning, the power supply went off because the water had entered the power substation. The premises were completely water-logged. And, when the clogged drains were checked, liquor bottles and plastic were pulled out, raising questions on the cleaning work done by the PWD and civic body.

Water-logging inside the Vidhan Bhavan premises
Water-logging inside the Vidhan Bhavan premises

Speaker Haribhau Bagde and energy minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule who inspected the premises promptly, said power was cut off as a precautionary measure. In the rest of the city, the road to the airport was blocked and subways were flooded for hours. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis visited various spots in his hometown and set up a disaster control room to supervise relief work. The citizens of Nagpur blamed the inconvenience on the haphazard working by the metro construction agency and apathy of the municipal body that has been building cement concrete roads in the city.

Empty liquor bottles found in the drains at the Vidhan Bhavan
Empty liquor bottles found in the drains at the Vidhan Bhavan

'Government zonked'
Opposition leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil wondered whether the discovery of empty liquor bottles in the Vidhan Bhavan drains had any relation to the 'zonked' government. "Now, we know why this government has not been in its senses for the past four years. It is a blot on the security forces that empty liquor bottles are found on the premises of the prestigious house," he said. Patil said the government did not have any disaster management plan. "In fact, the government itself is a disaster." NCP leader Ajit Pawar said the BJP govt was not interested in good governance. "We have lost a day's work because of mismanagement. The people in the government should compensate for losses caused to the public exchequer." Pawar said the session shouldn't have been shifted to Nagpur. "There was no preparedness." Opposition leader in council Dhananjay Munde said a three-member committee that was asked to examine Nagpur's preparedness, had, in fact, rejected the idea of hosting it in the second capital. There was no official reaction from the government.

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