Pune: The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has suddenly developed a dislike for Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd (PMPML) Chairman and Managing Director Tukaram Mundhe. The party, which recently took over the reins of the civic body, was boasting about bringing an upright officer such as Mundhe as the CMD of the public transport body three months ago.
Mundhe took charge of the loss-making PMPML as its CMD on March 29 to improve its services. City BJP MP Anil Shirole and District Guardian Minister Girish Bapat had boasted that they had played a key role in the appointment of Mundhe for a better PMPML.
Initially, all parties and even social organisations welcomed Mundhe’s appointment.
However, as he started running the show by exposing wrongdoings and setting things right, the disgruntled elements inside and outside PMPML started crying hoarse.
Mundhe streamlined the PMPML administration by penalising inefficient officers and workers, which was appreciated. His decisions brought in discipline among workers, controlled irregularities in purchases, buses started running on time and the number of breakdowns reduced drastically. The daily income of the PMPML increased with the rising number of commuters.
Mundhe is known for detesting politicians. He refused to oblige the ruling BJP office-bearers in the PMC. The political class in the PMC, which always thinks that the public transport body survives on their favours, was enraged when Mundhe did not turn up for the meetings in the PMC. He instead kept sending his junior officers to attend them and provide details to the civic body and avoided politicians coming to meet him at his office.
Fuel was added to the fire when Mundhe hiked the rate of PMPML buses provided to private schools. The PMC office-bearers saw it as an opportunity to bring the upright officer on his knees. However, Mundhe did not turn up for the meeting called by Mayor Mukta Tilak.
Leaders cutting across party lines in the PMC condemned Mundhe saying that he insulted the city Mayor by not attending the meeting and demanded his removal from the post of PMPML CMD within three months.
However, the NCP smelled an opportunity in this and changed its stance. Opposition leader in the PMC Chetan Tupe declared his party’s support to Mundhe in whatever good he is doing for improving the PMPML.