Opposition plants NCP on the mat over Rs 1 cr spent on wrestling event
The vigour of opposition parties in Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) General Body meeting was palpable on yesterday.
The international wrestling event held earlier this month under the banner of Mayor’s trophy took centre stage. The entire meeting was replete with allegations and counter-allegations at high decibels. Maintaining that the wrestling event was illegal, like the Baisakhi festival conducted by previous mayor Mohansingh Rajpal, the opposition said PMC must put back the Rs 1 crore spent on the event in to civic body’s treasury.
The issue took root in the PMC Standing Committee, which on January 1 approved the money for organising the competition on behalf of the civic body. Baburao Chandere, committee chairman, passed the decision despite votes against it.
Except the ruling Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), only one member from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) cast a vote in favour of holding the event. By and large, the programme was opposed by Congress, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena.
The matter was raised by leader of opposition Vasant More, Congress member Avinash Bagwe and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s Kishor Shinde yesterday. More said, “How can the wrestling event take place when it was scrapped in the meeting by the voting against it?”
Shinde said, “Like previous PMC mayor Mohansingh Rajpal repaid the amount to PMC for organising the Baisakhi event illegally and later, the wrestling event expenditure should be recovered from salaries of the organisers. This is ultimately taxpayers’ money.”
Avinash Bagwe, Congress member and chairman, PMC Sports Committee, said, “The payment system for the participants was also wrong as PMC had given bearer cheques as per the records from the bank statement. PMC’s chief accountant Mangesh Joshi’s claim that the money was paid by issuing traveller’s (cross) cheques is wrong. The entire procedure of spending money is against the norms.
Earlier, the Mayor’s Trophy International Wrestling Competition was also opposed by social activists including RTI activists Vijay Kumbhar, Major General (Retd) SCN Jatar, Satish Khot, Sujit Patwardhan and Jugal Rathi. Kumbhar alleged that Rs 50 lakh had been diverted for the event from other heads, which is against section 86 of Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporations (BPMC) Act in 1949.
Ulka Kalamkar, chief auditor, PMC, said, “The process of payment was made only via account payee cheques. There was nothing wrong in the organisation of the event. Under the BPMC provision, right of transferring of funds is given to the municipal Standing Committee and General Body meeting. Therefore, there is no question of any illegal or ‘out of the way’ work for conducting the wrestling event by the civic body.”
Compensation for bldg collapse victims
PMC General body has formally approved Rs 2 lakh each for the kin of deceased and Rs 1 lakh each for those injured in the ‘Somnath’ building collapse on September 25, 2012. 12 persons had lost their lives and a dozen others were injured in the tragedy. Anup Kumar Yadav, additional municipal commissioner, said, “There is no provision for providing aid to victims of such mishaps in PMC, but we can forward this proposal to the state government. We’ll also try to make a new policy to help victims in any mishap.”