BeyondHeadlines News Desk
Filing a complaint with the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) for an illegal building activity could bring in you trouble. Authorities may not appreciate your efforts of brining illegal activities to their attention.
Deputy Municipal Commissioner Vijay Balamvar has reportedly sent the message to citizens in his office at his Lokshahi Din on 15 July 2013 that sending complaint at his official email ID or phone number would be booking under cyber-crime laws.
The deputy commissioner asked Mumbai resident Adv. Sunil Tiwari why he sent complaints and building photographs to the official email ID and mobile phone via WhatsApp. Moreover, the advocate was asked to prove that he was actually an advocate (sic).
Mr. Balamvar refused even to talk about Tiwari’s complaint about the illegal alteration of a Juhu building by State Bank of India which may result in collapse of the building. Rather, the deputy commissioner asked Tiwari what right he had to clog his email and phone with complaints and photos of the building.
“Are you living in that building? How are you affected by the alterations being made? If you are not living in that building, what right have you to send me such messages? I want you to delete the email, the message you sent me from my mailbox and phone. Will you do that? Otherwise, I will complain to cyber-crime police, and look at what action to take against you under the cyber-laws,” Mr. Balamvar allegedly said.
Commenting about the issue, Adv. Tiwari’s RTI activist friend Sulaiman Bhimani remarked that this reveals the nexus between commercial interests who make illegal alternations in buildings and BMC’s officers.
“Memories of recent building collapses are fresh in the minds of Mumbaikar, especially those who lost their near and dear ones due to the greed of someone. Many of the buildings collapsed due to illegal and unauthorized structural changes made on ground floor.
“MCGM engineers fail to take cognizance of such activities and they turn nelson eyes to such rampant illegal changes the reasons best known to them. And it seems that citizens who complain against such corruption and malpractices are intimidated by Municipal officials, who should be protecting the citizens instead of protecting such unlawful elements!
“If Mr. Balamvar does not take cognizance of Adv. Tiwari’s complaint on a serious matter concerning common people’s lives, and instead, can talk arrogantly like this to an advocate, imagine how he would be dealing with poor people who approach him with grievances and complaints! And, if their official phones and email addresses – which is paid for with taxpayer money — cannot be used for sending complaints, what will the citizens do?” asked Mr. Bhimani.
Annoyed by the rude and intimidating behavior of public servant Mr. Balamwar, Adv. Tiwari has written to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and others to suspend Mr. Balamwar and others concerned engineers.