Corporators target PMC chief over underground cable deal

ST Correspondent
Monday, 16 October 2017

Pune: Mayor Mukta Tilak on Monday ordered the civic administration to cancel the permission granted to telecom operators, who owe crores of rupees to the PMC, for laying underground optical fibre cables. 

Tilak gave a ruling after corporators, cutting across party lines, questioned the role of Municipal Commissioner Kunal Kumar in granting the permission to these companies to lay cables, without bringing this to the notice of the standing committee, which deals with all financial decisions of the PMC.

Pune: Mayor Mukta Tilak on Monday ordered the civic administration to cancel the permission granted to telecom operators, who owe crores of rupees to the PMC, for laying underground optical fibre cables. 

Tilak gave a ruling after corporators, cutting across party lines, questioned the role of Municipal Commissioner Kunal Kumar in granting the permission to these companies to lay cables, without bringing this to the notice of the standing committee, which deals with all financial decisions of the PMC.

The members of opposition parties also warned Kumar to not defend mobile service provider companies. They asked him to instead look after the interest of taxpayer citizens of Pune.

The issue of the civic administration’s failure to recover the property tax dues amounting to Rs 470 crore from mobile service provider companies and new permissions for laying the underground optical fibre cables given to the same companies by the civic administration, bypassing the standing committee and the general body irked the members. NCP and Congress members raised slogans against the municipal commissioner as soon as the general body meeting of the PMC started on Monday. 

Later, the chorus of the opposition party members against the civic chief rose as they were joined by BJP and RPI members.

Addressing the meeting, Standing Committee Chairman Murlidhar Mohol categorically told Kumar that the panel would not approve the proposal of granting permission for laying underground optical fibre cables. He said the municipal commissioner’s style of functioning will not be tolerated.

Senior NCP corporator Subhash Jagtap warned Kumar not to shield  mobile service providers. He reminded the civic chief that he was the head of the civic administration and should take care of the interest of the common people. 

Replying to the criticism by elected members, a visibly disturbed Kumar found himself cornered and unsuccessfully tried to defend mobile service provider companies.

He said, in the terms and conditions agreed by both the PMC and the private companies, it is not mentioned that the permission will not be granted if property tax dues are not paid.

He also referred to the permissions given in the past three years, which did not impress the mayor and corporators. 

When the opposition party members directly blamed the BJP for losing control over the civic administration, Mayor Tilak gave this ruling. She asked Kumar to cancel all permissions granted to the companies and also cancel their cash receipts.

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