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Knives out for corporation CEO

Led by deputy mayor Sanjeev Vijayvargiya, as many as 35 ward councillors signed a document demanding immediate removal of the CEO of Ranchi Municipal Corporation, Monday’s decision at an emergency board meeting reflecting the overall dissatisfaction with the way Manoj Kumar ran the affairs of the capital city.

What started as a tussle between the deputy mayor and the CEO over funds distribution for setting up a sewerage system during last week’s meeting, took an ugly turn on Monday with allegations being made against Kumar.

Last Saturday, the corporation was likely to float tenders for building the sewerage system across 55 wards. But, a last minute decision taken by the CEO to reduce allocations for wards, held up the process.

“Usually, funds available with RMC for various infrastructure development activities are distributed equally in all wards. Recently, the urban development department allocated Rs 6.97 crore to RMC for sewerage construction. However, we got to know that only Rs 6.64 crore would be distributed for the work,” said Vijayvargiya.

He claimed it was decided earlier that all wards would get Rs 10 lakh each and the remaining funds would be distributed on a percentage basis.

“On Saturday, the CEO said that the amount for sewage construction would be Rs 8 lakh per ward. This was not expected of him,” he added.

It was under these circumstances that the deputy mayor called an emergency board meeting on Monday and since the CEO was on leave, he did not attend. But as many as 40 of the 55 elected representatives were present.

In all, 13 issues were raised against the CEO with councillors alleging he was dithering on initiating various infrastructure development projects for the city.

Among the complaints made against the CEO were his alleged derogatory remarks against officials, his “objectionable” behaviour towards the deputy mayor — he summoned him to his chamber — bringing about last-minute changes in several decisions taken by the board and standing committee and introduction of “complex” rules that led to revenue loss.

On Monday, therefore, the board ratified its earlier decision of allocating Rs 10 lakh to each ward for sewerage construction. This apart, the CEO and the deputy mayor would get 10 per cent and 5 per cent of the total amount, respectively, to undertake projects in the city.

The councillors also decided to approach chief minister Hemant Soren and urban development minister Suresh Paswan with their demand of replacing CEO Manoj Kumar.

Kumar was not available for comment.