Sunday, June 28, 2009

Standing committee reprimands NMMC administration for orders presenting sterilization center proposal at general body with report on contractor’s perf

Standing Committee Chairman Sandeep Naik reprimanded the administration for doing loose talk ignoring the dogs menace in the city. He sent back the sterilization center proposal asking the administration to present the proposal before the general body with a detailed report of the contractor’s performance.

Every citizen in the city is aware of the worsening dogs menace in the city with the numbers of stray dogs continuously rising exposing the failure of NMMC’s sterilization drive. But the NMMC administration seemed to take the issue a little too lightly that irked the members during the weekly Standing Committee meet. Not only did the official in charge of the department giving unconvincing replies to queries but also seemed to be giving wrong information. Member Namdeo Bhagat suggested that the administration advertise for more competitive contractors for the job and study the dog sterilization programs in other cities. The officer’s response to this irked Namdeo Bhagat.

J D Sutar said that the NMMC’s sterilization drive was suspicious as the number of dogs has been increasing in every ward. Shivram Patil too backed J D Sutar’s apprehensions about the drive by stating that if the contractor’s work was audited it might just expose another encroachment drive.

He added that there was need to do the audit of the NMMC Health Dept. because contractors of the dept have not changed for over a decade. Though the official replying to the queries gave numbers of the dogs caught and sterilized, Ravindra Ithape said that he and other corporators had never seen vehicles for catching dogs on roads. Another lie that the official seemed to telling the members was exposed by Corporator Aparna Gavte who said that the official was giving misleading numbers to the house about Digha as vehicles for catching dogs had not come there for months. Another important issue was raised by the Chairman Sandeep Naik himself who asked why was NMMC proposal to develop the dog control center under a flyover when the place did not belong to NMMC to which the Commissioner replied that the development plan for the city was still not ready.

However, members refused to accept the explanation. Shivram Patil said that every Commissioner who comes says he needs 6 months to make the development plan. Chairman Sandeep Naik too said that the Commissioner was in office for 2.5 years so his reasoning was not acceptable.

The Chairman went on to criticize the fact that many were laughing when the issue was being discussed. He further sent the proposal back reprimanding the officials stating that hence further non sensical answers would not be tolerated.

Speaking to NMTV News, Sandeep Naik stated the reasons they sent the proposal back. He added that they have asked for a detailed report of the contractor’s work. He said that the administration needs to coordinate between the departments responsible for rabbies injections and sterilization program.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Standing committee sanctions Rs. 50 Crores for making power lines underground

The NMMC Standing Committee has sanctioned Rs. 51 Crores to make power line in villages in Navi Mumbai underground. The proposal does not include Digha village, Mahape village and Adhavli-Bhutavli.

Yet another proposal pending for years is likely to see the light of the day after this week’s Standing Committee meet. The members, after deliberations approved the tender bid of Rs. 51 Crores to make power cables underground. The proposal is going to be done in collaboration with MSEDC. The NMMC will spend Rs. 51 Crores and recover the same from MSEDC by adjusting the amount against MSEDC bills. This will help NMMC recover Rs. 51 Crores over a period of few years. The members raised several concerns about the tender that was presented in a rather unclear and confusing manner like all proposals drafted by the administration. Some significant points raised was by member Namdeo Bhagat who said that NMMC should not pay the Rs. 21 lakhs as supervision charges to MSEDC as it was the latter’s job that NMMC was doing at its cost because MSEDC did not have funds to do this. Standing Committee Chairman Sandeep Naik too made an important suggestion.

Since this proposal requires approval from MERC and then the state government, members said that the administration should ensure that the delay in getting approvals does not end up in escalation of the tender bid like in the case of NMMC HQ. Sandeep Naik however voiced confidence that the work will be done smoothly. He said that the villages that have not been included in the proposal will be adjusted in the cushion amount of 25% in the tender bid. The NMMC will complete the work in a period of 12 months.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Will the new proposed handicap training centure become another white elephant for NMMC?

The NMMC Standing Committee approved the bid of Unique Construction Corporation for constructing the training and education center for the handicapped in Sector 30 A, Vashi at a cost of Rs. 4.25 Crores. The proposal was approved amidst concerns that parents of disabled children and organizations working for persons with disabilities should have been called for a hearing session before finalizing the plans for a Handicap Training Center of this magnitude. Members of the Standing Committee have also demanded the appointment of a capable administrator for this project.

NMMC is going to build a landmark project that perhaps no other municipal administration in the country has so far for students with different abilities. The corporation approved the bid to construct the first phase of the handicap training center with state of the art educational and training aids for the blind, dumb, deaf, mentally and physically challenged and other students with different abilities. The center will be built in Sector 30 A, Vashi. While all members welcomed this historic landmark project, several concerns that should have been discussed earlier were brought up at this Standing Committee meet. NGOs and persons with disabilities met Standing Committee Chairman Sandeep Naik and gave appeal letters stating disappointment that parents of disabled children and organizations working for persons with disabilities should have been called for a hearing session before finalizing the plans for a Handicap Training Center of this magnitude.

NGOs working for persons with disabilities and parents of special children also met the committee’s member Shivram Patil with the same appeal. However, the Commissioner explained to the members that the appeal of the NGOs and others was just a conspiracy of private special schools. He informed the members that NMMC provides everything free of cost for special students in their school. On the other hand private institute charge a hefty sum and the vested interests in private schools dread the new NMMC Handicap Training Center.

With the Commissioner’s explanation, the members unanimously agreed that the proposal should be passed. The Chairman Sandeep Naik said that the project was a commendable and needed initiative but however appealed to the administration to invite persons with disabilities and their parents and guardians for a session to initiate debate and suggestions about the requirements of the handicapped, so that they too have a say in the developing of the center and are informed of the facilities to be provided in the same. Another significant suggestion was made by member Namdeo Bhagat who said that a project of this magnitude for special children needed a qualified official to handle it. Hinting that the project is being made without an administrator of the caliber to work in the area of special children, he asked the administration to get such an official for the project.

Standing Committee Chairman Sandeep Naik backed the suggestion of Namdeo Bhagat. Chairman Sandeep Naik said that the members will see to it that they get a qualified administrator to run the first-of-its-kind Handicap Center for Special Children at Sector 30, Vashi sooner than later. However, Commissioner Vijay Nahata did not seem keen to this suggestion made by the Standing Committee stating that he had the best team to run the Handicap Training Center and the Commissioner would heading the project at any point in time so there was no need to get any other official.

It’s unfortunate that NGOs woke up so late with their concerns about the training center as the proposal was first approved by the general body. Beyond any doubt, it requires an administrator and teachers with skill and ability to run a center for special children and while this looks like good beginning, it will be a big challenge to get the center running as shown on paper with many recurring cost and specially trained professionals. Otherwise, this project too will become another white elephant for NMMC

Justice to the poor at last! NMMC standing committee chairman Sandeep Naik get 10% reservation policy for the poor approved

Better late than never – that’s what NMMC Standing Committee Chairman Sandeep Naik seems to have practiced in the case of getting the 10% reservation policy for the poor activated in the NMMC – Hiranandani Super Specialty tie up. Fulfilling the promise that NMMC of getting super specialty medical services for the poor available free of cost at the NMMC Hospital, Standing Committee Chairman brought the proposal for the reservation policy and got it approved at a special general body meet.

Fortis Super Specialty was to make super specialty and additional medial services accessible to the poor. But it’s been months the Hiranandani – Fortis Super Specialty went functional but the NMMC’s administration showed clear apathy and neglect in presenting the revised policy for referring poor patients to the Hiranandani – Fortis Super Specialty Hospital. We had met Sandeep Thakur – city’s own lone crusader for public issues.

Sandeep Thakur had said that the delay could be intentional to benefit the private parties. In his defense Commissioner Vijay Nahata had said that says that on their part the administration presented the proposal for forming the policy based on the agreement signed but if the committee did not approve the proposal, it’s not his fault. He however, assured us that the administration would present the proposal in following week’s standing committee meet.

However, NMMC Commissioner Vijay Nahata failed to keep his word as the administration did not bring the proposal in the next week’s Standing Committee meet either. When we asked the Commissioner the same, he lamely said that the administration needs more time.

While the Commissioner failed to keep his word twice, the corporators were facing flak for keeping mum on the issue. But two corporators Namdeo Bhagat and Shivram Patil proved that they were not thick skinned like the rest as they raised the issue in the weekly Standing Committee meet of May 27.

In the Standing Committee meet of May 27, corporators Namdeo Bhagat and Shivram Patil raised the issue of the 10% reservation policy for poor patients Fortis – Hiranandani hospital. Namdeo Bhagat attacked the administration for the delay in complete sarcasm questioning why the administration had shown haste in beginning the hospital without taking the benefits due to NMMC from the tie-up. Chairman Sandeep Naik announced that they would convene a special general body meet and formulate the policy by June 10.

On June 9, a special general body meeting was called at the NMMC HQ. The proposal was brought in the name of the Standing Committee Chairman Sandeep Naik. Members presented participated in a healthy debate giving suggestions for the criteria drafted for the 10% reservation of beds for the poor in the Fortis – Hiranandani Hospital. For once even the administration’s response was enthusiastic as the Commissioner accepted some significant suggestions made by corporators. After an hour of suggestions and deliberations, the proposal was approved by the general body meeting. Corporator Vithal More voiced disappointment over the delay that the administration exhibited in getting the revised proposal.

Several corporators including Vithal More credited their Chairman for bringing it to the general body for approval. Social activist Sandeep Thakur echoed the feelings of tax paying citizens of Navi Mumbai as he welcomed the approval of the policy. He added that the administration needs to implement the policy in the same spirit as it has been presented on paper.

The 10% reservation policy has been brought to make super specialty medical services accessible to the poor free of cost but there is still concern over the prices of the consumables that are as high as the operation cost. To ensure this doesn’t happen, the Chairman Sandeep Naik has called for the administration to fix the rates of consumables at par with charitable hospitals.

Further to ensure that implementation is transparent and successful, Standing Committee Chairman Sandeep Naik says that they have called for every three months auditing of the policy. This would help study the lacunae that will surface only after implementation. He says that the 10% reservation policy is the right of the poor and underprivileged, that’s why they intend to keep the policy open for discussion. Sandeep Thakur welcomed the suggestion of auditing the implementation of the policy.

The approval of the general body meeting has opened the doors of Fortis – Hiranandani Hospital for the poor and weak to avail affordable super specialty medical services. Citizens from across the city welcomed the decision. Thane Guardian Minister Ganesh Naik had made the promise of making super specialty medical services available for the poor on January 26, 2006 during the official ceremony for the public private partnership – three years later, his younger son Sandeep Naik kept the promise made by his father to the citizens of Navi Mumbai.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

NMMC standing chairman’s second “Telescopic” visit exposes pre-monsoon work yet not complete

NMMC Standing Committee Chairman Sandeep Naik re-visited the nullah cleaning work across the city to inspect if the administration had indeed followed up on the instructions given during his earlier visit. However, disappointingly, nullah cleaning work was still lacking in many areas.

Visiting the major nullahs of the city including the ones at CBD and Vashi, NMMC Standing Committee Chairman Sandeep Naik once again found that while 95% of the work was completed, there was still work pending in the cleaning of nullahs as he found that the main bullahs were still blocked.

While the Chairman stated that in a few days he would be yet again carrying out a surprise inspection of the work done, we asked him when Navi Mumbaikars could expect the pre-monsoon work to be completely over. To this he stated that while this was the work of the administration, their involvement has definitely sped up the process. The chairman visited CBD, Vashi and APMC for his visit and has again given out instructions to the respective depts to speed up the work. He was accompanied by City Engineer Mohan Dagaonkar during his visit.

Plantations at Parsik Hill on world Environment day with mangrove plantation soon to follow

Its World Environment Day today. The day when man organizations carry out plantation drive to keep up the theme of this year which is tacking climate change.
Standing Committee Chairman Sandeep Naik, on World Environment Day appealed to all put in good efforts to carry out mass plantation and maintain it.
On this day, he even informed that very soon mangrove plantation would be taken up by the corporation within two months.

Friday, June 5, 2009

NMMC starts watering its plants

With continuous follow up of the issue, it came as a major relief for tax paying citizens as work on the Palm Beach Road was started in full swing.

the matter of the deteriorating conditions of greenery on Palm Beach Road with the NMMC Standing Committee Chairman Sandeep Naik who assured of bringing the greenery here back to life and restoring its beauty. And a day after this, we spotted labours at work on Palm Beach Road. Water supply to suit the plantation, red mud for plants with labours of the work across the stretch is being done in full swing. The city awaits to see the greenery and Palm trees in its original luscious green-self and hopes that soon the glory of this pride of Navi Mumbai will be restored to the T.

Monday, June 1, 2009

NMMC standing committee chairman Sandeep Naik sets another precedent by calling joint NMMC –MSEDC meeting for coordination over public work

He’s known for setting right examples and he set another one. NMMC Standing Committee Chairman Sandeep Naik invited MSEDC officers to NMMC to initiate coordination between both the government offices and set the right spirit in execution of public work.

One grievance that has always surfaced in the city is the lack of coordination between government offices during execution of public work that often ends up inconveniencing citizens. And though, time and again the need for bringing one government office in sync with the other is emphasized upon, it never happens. That’s where this meeting attains significance. An initiative of the NMMC Standing Committee Chairman, this joint meeting between NMMC and MSEDC was held at the NMMC HQ at Belapur. After his visit to check status of pre-monsoon work in the city a few days back and interaction with NMMC officials on field, Chairman Sandeep Naik felt that there was an urgent need to meet MSEDC to address long term and short term issues that directly affect commoners in the city. So the Chairman invited MSEDC officials to NMMC HQ and held over an hour long progressive interactive session where both MSEDC and NMMC officials tabled their issues and appeals in front of the Chairman.

The Chairman invited all the people present to join the discussion, which included senior corporators of NMMC. Some of the significant issues discussed included the open power DP boxes that are an open fatal threat to citizens, more so with the approaching monsoons.

Besides this, NMMC officials also raised the issue of power cables passing through city gutters that were causing obstructions. Another topic of discussion was making over head power cables underground. MSEDC too voiced their concerns in regards to NMMC office. At the end of the meet, Chairman Sandeep Naik said that NMMC and MSEDC have to join hands to work on short term and long term public work – the short term including doing necessary covering of DP boxes and cabling work before monsoon and the long term including underground power cable project like subject where coordination between NMMC and MSEDC was missing but highly required.

This NMMC-MSEDC meeting is one of the most needed initiatives in Navi Mumbai. Corporators present during the meeting appreciated the Chairman Sandeep Naik’s initiative. Beyond any doubt Chairman Sandeep Naik has set another precedent that will help MSEDC work in tune with NMMC. The spirits between the government offices have been set right and the first step towards coordination for public work has begun – now its time to see the action.