Party rivalry amid New Year's revelry

Published: Dec 28, 2012, 07:50 IST | Pritankka Deshpande |

Workers of various political parties visit Entertainment Duty Dept, insist on action against hotels run by rivals for violation of New Year's Eve do norms

Workers of political parties are pressuring the staff of the Entertainment Duty (ED) Department to take action on the night of December 31 against hotels run by their rival political party workers, reveal sources in the ED Department.

During a visit to the ED Department yesterday, this reporter saw Shiv Sena workers pressuring the head of the department, Geetanjali Shirke, to take action against certain hotels that organise New Year events. Around six Shiv Sena workers came to the ED Department with a list of names of certain hotels in the afternoon and were pressuring the officer to take action against the owners of the hotels in the list.

Sources in the ED Department said that Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) workers had also visited them yesterday morning and tried to interfere in the internal work of the department.

“Some of the MNS workers stormed into the office in the morning and asked us to show what work we were doing or sought to known how many permissions we had given so far to the event organisers for New Year’s party,” a source in the ED Department said on the condition of anonymity.

The source said these party workers often came with tip-offs about hotels owned by their rival party members.

“Their real motive is not to help the department but to settle scores,” the ED department source said.

Shirke said she usually faced such issues and political hooliganism when New Year is round the corner.

“I am scared when these political party workers, whom I don’t even know, just storm into my office and interfere with official work,” she said. “I agree that they also help us by providing tips and we can easily take action against the event organisers who don’t take our department’s permission, but such interference in government work can’t be tolerated.”

Shiv Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe said that it was a political organization’s duty to monitor the functioning of the governmental departments.

“If there is something wrong going on, it is our prime duty as law-abiding citizens to inform the concerned department about it,” Gorhe said.

After a meeting with Gorhe, the District Collectorate has revised the rules for obtaining the permission from the ED Department for organising a New Year’s event. According to the rules now, it is mandatory for the event organisers to show the seating capacity of the venue where the event is to be organised and only after a scrutiny of the documents submitted to the ED department can the organisers be given a no-objection certificate.

Shirke said that so far 80 event organisers had registered their names for organising their events on New Year’s Eve, but, except for five hotels that fulfilled all the necessary procedures, the department had kept all the entries on hold.

MNS city vice-president Ajay Shinde said that if anyone was misusing the party’s name the party would take necessary action against him or her. 

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