Several probes launched, suspensions ordered, department audits initiated; support pours in from AAP, Shiv Sena
On Saturday, Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Commissioner Shrikar Pardeshi announced in the civic general body meeting that he would conduct an audit of the equipment purchased by various civic departments in the last eight years. The civic chief’s announcement, which has caused tremors among officials, came after allegations of a machine purchased at an exorbitantly high cost for YCM hospital surfaced last week.
Officials said many skeletons would tumble out of the closet if the PCMC administration kept its word of conducting the audit in all seriousness. “Not only officials, the audit would also expose office-bearers belonging to the ruling NCP,” said a senior official.
This is, however, not the first major step taken by the civic administration under Pardeshi that has sent shivers down the spine of officials, corporators, top politicians and even citizens.
In the last six months, the PCMC administration has flattened nearly 200 structures, including highrise buildings even in hitherto “untouched” areas like Pimpri Camp, that even brought the so-called powerful politicians to the streets as they staged dharnas outside the state Assembly. But nothing has worked, with FIRs being filed against 600 residents for raising illegal constructions.
The administration has effected inter-departmental transfer of as many as 300 employees, scaled down the school budget from Rs 108 crore to Rs 100 crore and taken possession of 150 files on which the standing committee was allegedly dragging its feet.
Last week, four civic officials were suspended for regularising a building by using dubious means. Over a month ago, a stores manager was suspended after irregularities were found in equipment purchase.
A fortnight ago, the civic chief announced seven steps aimed at making the functioning of his administration transparent and accountable. “Flying squads would conduct raids. The aim is to find out deficiencies and take corrective measures,” Pardeshi had said.
The civic administration has even kept at bay a former mayor, considered the right hand man of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar. “The civic chief has stalled a couple of projects of a former mayor which he found improper,” said an official.
Several corporators recently met Pawar to press for Pardeshi’s ouster for failing to push development projects. But the administration countered the charge and presented a detailed list of the development works undertaken by it.
“We have launched at least