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Mayor directs civic drama

- Commissioner away, Imam orders salary to be stopped

Patna, Dec. 5: The Bihar government wants him out of the Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) and made an unsuccessful attempt to get a stay imposed on his transfer by Patna High Court vacated in the Supreme Court. Now, the councillors want his salary to be stopped.

In an absurd turn of events, the empowered standing committee of PMC today took a decision to stop payment of salary to municipal commissioner Kuldip Narayan.

Narayan, an IIT-ian-turned-IAS officer of the 2005 batch, has questioned the decision, saying that like other staff members, his salary too is released through cheque signed by him only.

In the absence of Narayan, the elected representatives, including the mayor, his deputy and five other ward councillors, also decided that proceedings of the standing committee meetings would no longer go to the municipal commissioner for final verification. However, as per the Empowered Standing Committee Conduct Of Business Rules, 2010, it is mandatory for the file of the proceedings of the meeting to go through the commissioner prior to its final approval.

That was not all. Once the meeting was over, mayor Afzal Imam took the memory card of the video camera in his possession, which recorded all the developments in today’s meeting. “Since the payment of salary to the municipal commissioner is done through the finance department of the corporation itself, we have asked the accounts officer to stop releasing the salary to him. We have taken such a decision in cognisance of the failure of the commissioner in making any progress on the large number of schemes related to public welfare,” said Imam.

Negating the validity of such a decision, commissioner Narayan told The Telegraph: “I fail to understand in what capacity the standing committee has taken such a decision. What provisions of which rule give them the power to take such a decision. As a matter of fact, the payment of salaries of all employees of PMC, including mine, is made through cheques signed by me only.”

The drama began soon after the commissioner left the meeting mid-way to attend another meeting at the urban development and housing department. “Since I had a pre-scheduled meeting, I asked additional municipal commissioner (Establishment and Legal) Radha Mohan Prasad to look after the standing committee meeting on my behalf. I left around half an hour after the meeting had begun till which time only the first point in the pre-determined agenda had been discussed,” said Narayan.

A section of councillors justified the decision to not send the proceedings of the meetings to the commissioner. Abha Lata, member of the standing committee and councillor from Ward No 4, said: “The proceedings of the earlier meeting of the standing committee on November 19 have not been finalised till date because the commissioner is refusing to put his signature on it.”

Senior civic officials said that not sending the proceedings of the standing committee meeting was in violation of the norms. “Such a decision is completely illegal and the commissioner has the power to report it to the urban development and housing department. Sending the proceedings to the commissioner and getting his signature on the file concerned is mandatory for validating the decisions taken by the standing committee as per the conduct of business rules, 2010,” said a senior PMC official.