Several ward councillors staged a protest on Thursday against municipal commissioner Kuldip Narayan at Patna Municipal Corporation headquarters in Maurya Lok complex when he was on leave.
The councillors alleged that the commissioner was not making progress in any public utility schemes. However, several other ward councillors claimed that the dharna was groundwork for a new petition filed against Narayan at Patna High Court seeking his transfer.
“The commissioner is not at all interested in doing any public utility work. Despite approval from the empowered standing committee and the PMC board, no work is being done for development of public lavatories. The manholes and catchpits are also left open. The plan for renovation of Maurya Lok complex and pay-and-park scheme is also lying idle. There are numerous other development schemes that are gathering dust only because of the unwillingness of the commissioner,” said Abha Lata, the councillor of ward number 4.
Former deputy mayor Sunil Kumar, on the other hand, said the dharna had little to do with public utility works.
“The dharna was spearheaded by some members of the standing committee led by Lata, who do not want the commissioner to stay in the PMC because of vested interests. Recently, the high court had refused to entertain an interlocutory application filed by Lata and others seeking removal of Narayan as PMC commissioner. Now, as per my knowledge, they have recently filed another public interest litigation (PIL) and Thursday’s dharna was just a groundwork for it,” he said.
The interlocutory application was filed in connection with the much talked about Narendra Mishra case against illegal mushrooming of buildings.
Lata confirmed that they have filed a new PIL seeking removal of Narayan. “The PIL is expected to be put for hearing tomorrow (Friday) or on Monday,” said Abha.
The protesting councillors said they are facing complaints from residents because the commissioner was not allowing development works to be carried out.
“The schemes entailing an outlay of Rs 10 lakh and Rs 15 lakh have been approved by the standing committee and the board more than six months ago. But no progress has been made till date because of which the elected representatives have to face the wrath of the residents,” said Lata.
Other councillors put the blame for the no progress in the public utility schemes on mayor Afzal Imam and his supporters, including Lata.
“If there’s no progress in the development schemes, the mayor and his supporters are only responsible for it. They want the execution of Rs 10-lakh and Rs 15-lakh schemes in those wards, where the councillors are their supporters. They also exert pressure on the executive engineers and other officers for not sending estimates for other wards, which is leading to the delay,” said Sunil Kumar, the councillor of ward number 10.