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Tussle spells trouble for civic promises

A tug-of-war over supremacy at the Gaya Municipal Corporation has proved to be detrimental for the development projects planned in the town.

The board of the Gaya Municipal Corporation has sanctioned several schemes for the town’s development in the past six months. But the power tussle between mayor Vibha Devi and her deputy, Akhauri Onkarnath alias Mohan Shrivastava, has resulted in poor coordination with the urban development and housing department that has to sanction the funds for the projects.

Some of the important schemes approved by the civic body board included construction of roads and drains, community hall in all the 53 wards, flyover on Gautam Buddha Road apart from arrangements for water supply and street lights. The board also planned to build a zoo on the civic body’s land near Naili village on the outskirts of the town and an international stadium. A children’s park, a ropeway from Vishnupad to Sitakund and Karbala to Ramshila and laying of underground cables were also in the pipeline.

Proposals for the schemes, with signatures of both the mayor and her deputy, were submitted in the last fiscal to the urban development and housing department. While the department sanctioned funds for construction of roads, drains and installation of streetlights, the others were ignored.

A councillor, Laljee Prasad, said monitoring of the schemes has been affected because of the rival camps.

Work is also yet to start on the projects that were sanctioned, including the Rs 1.5-crore beautification project of Jawahar town hall.

The tussle between the mayor and deputy mayor has reached such a point that supporters of both camps have brought no-confidence motions against one other.

Vibha’s supporters submitted a no-confidence motion to the civic body commissioner, Ramvilas Paswan. Following a discussion on the plea on June 20, the deputy mayor was ousted. Shrivastava, however, managed to secure a stay from the high court on the ground that he should have been allowed to be present at the meeting to reply to the charges levelled by his opponents.

He is lodged in Patna’s Beur jail since January this year for the alleged gangrape of a minor.

Now, the deputy mayor’s camp has brought a no-confidence motion against Vibha Devi. The hearing has been extended to July 23.

Mayor Vibha Devi too admitted that the implementation of schemes has taken a hit. She said: “In a democratic process, we cannot stop opponents from protesting. Chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi recently announced some schemes, including the ropeway project, for the township’s beautification. We are hopeful to get the funds sanctioned so that work can start on them.”