One of the most frustrating things to see is an honest bureaucrat getting punished for his honesty.
And that is what has happened to former Navi Mumbai Municipal Commissioner Tukaram Mundhe. On Friday evening, the Maharashtra government transferred Mundhe, who faced opposition from political parties due to his no-nonsense approach.
Government sources did not reveal what Mundhe's next posting would be.
Corporators in Navi Mumbai had passed a no-confidence resolution against Mundhe last year but the state government had overruled the resolution then.
Hailing from Beed — one of the most backward districts in Marathwada — the 41-year-old has been transferred atleast eight times since he joined the Indian Administrative Services (IAS) in 2005, say reports. This will be his ninth transfer.
In the first three months after taking charge as Navi Mumbai Municipal Commissioner, the civic body removed 1,916 illegal hawkers, 1,808 hutments and 1,010 political hoardings, India Today had reported.
Since his appointment as NMMC chief in May 2016, Mundhe had suspended ten officials for dereliction of duty, including the then Deputy Municipal Commissioner Prakash Kulkarni for administrative irregularities, The Quint said.
He had also scrapped three "unnecessary" multi-crore projects which had been approved previously. These projects included a Rs 20 crore marble statue of BR Ambedkar in Airoli and a solar project at Morbe Dam worth Rs 163 crore. These funds were instead redirected to make the city disabled-friendly and build pavements and gardens.
The report also said that his most bold move had been to order demolitions of over 250 gaothans, which are clusters of land inhabited by people who gave up their land rights.
Mundhe's honest attitude and proactive role in development made him popular among the people. He was so approachable that he allowed any citizen to join him on his morning walks and address their grievances. The morning walks were called 'walk with commissioner', according to a Livemint report.
Two corporators from Shiv Sena had also been disqualified by Mundhe for "engaging and promoting unauthorised constructions," PTI had reported.
Obviously, such action against the corrupt did not please most politicians.
In October 2016, a no-confidence motion was passed by NMMC corporators and was perhaps the first time in the history of the civic body that such a motion was passed against the commissioner. NMMC is controlled by the Nationalist Congress Party.
Corporators from the ruling NCP and Opposition Shiv Sena joined hands and the motion was passed 105 to 6. The corporators had cited Mundhe’s ‘autocratic behaviour’ and ‘the humiliation meted out to the Mayor and other corporators’ as the main reasons behind the admission of the motion.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had later suspended the execution of the no-confidence motion. It was also learnt that Fadnavis had delayed the transfer to avoid public outcry against the move. But on Friday, Fadnavis signed the transfer orders of the no-nonsense incorruptible officer.
Even after the no-confidence motion had been passed against him in October, Mundhe had said that he will continue to do his duty. As district collector in Solapur, he had been attacked by goons because of his actions against the sand and land mafias. But Mundhe did not relent.
Perhaps it is this sort of mettle that makes honest and dedicated bureaucrats like him remain unfazed by the dirty politics around them.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Mar 25, 2017 13:23 PM