Afternoon Voice

Not “unduly worried” about no-confidence motion: Tukaram Mundhe

Nashik municipal commissioner Tukaram Mundhe said he isn’t “unduly worried” about the no-confidence motion that he is facing in the BJP-ruled civic body, over the “drastic increase” in tax rates.

A special general body meeting of the civic body is likely to be held on September 1 to discuss the motion.

Asked about the motion, the 43-year-old IAS officer said, “What can I say. It is their (corporators’) choice.

As far as I am concerned, I will continue to do what I am doing to improve the civic administration.” Mayor Ranjana Bhansi said citizens are unhappy with the Nashik Municipal Corporation’s (NMC) recent “drastic upward revision” of tax rates.

“For a property of 1,300 sqft, the tax has gone up from Rs 3,400 to Rs 21,000,” she said.

Mundhe, an IAS officer of 2005 batch, faced similar problems with politicians during much of his tenure and is said to have been transferred 10 times in the last 10 years.

Asked if he apprehends that he will be shunted out again, Mundhe said, “I don’t count my transfers.” “Allegations against my style of functioning are untrue and unfounded. There is nothing arbitrary in my decisions, which were taken keeping in mind the interests of the common man in Nashik,” he said.

Those who follow the rule of the law have nothing to be afraid of, he added.

Asked if the steps taken by him to streamline the civic administration have incurred the “displeasure” of those whose illegalities he did not allow, he said, “Absolutely.” When pointed out that the BJP corporators have taken the lead in moving the no-confidence motion against him and if he expected Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to support him, Mundhe said, “That is not for me to comment. I won’t comment on such a question.”

While the Nashik mayor has claimed that the “rights” of corporators have been snatched away (by Mundhe), Gajanan Shelar, the NCP group leader in the House, said the tax hike issue raised by the BJP is an eyewash.

“They (BJP) are unable to get their percentage on projects or get their work done and hence they made tax hike an issue,” he said.

Meanwhile, many citizens have come forward on social media to support Mundhe.

Some citizens’ organisations have announced that they will take out a march to the Nashik civic body in support of Mundhe on Saturday, when the House meets to discuss the motion against him.

“A rally in support of Mundhe will be held on August 31 and September 1. At 10 am we will walk from the Golf Club Ground to the NMC and will make people understand how Mundhe is good for the city,” said Samadhan Bharati, a youth social worker.

Mundhe, who was serving as the chairman and managing director of Pune Municipal Transport Corporation Limited, was posted as the municipal commissioner of Nashik in February.

The transfer came just 11 months after he was shifted from the post of Navi Mumbai municipal commissioner.

He was earlier the district collector of Solapur for 17 months before he was appointed to the post in Navi Mumbai in May 2016.

In Solapur, Mundhe had cracked down on officials in an irrigation scam and had also taken on the local sand mafia.