Nashik babus in tizzy as no-nonsense officer is civic chief
(3 months ago)
Nashik (Maharashtra), Feb 9 : Officers and staff of the Nashik Municipal Corporation were jolted as IAS officer Tukaram Mundhe, known for his punctuality and discipline, took charge as Municipal Commissioner of here on Friday.
On his first day, he was in his chamber at 10 a.m., causing many officials to hasten to their workplaces to avoid coming under his radar.
Mundhe soon went on a tour of the NMC building, visiting all departments and at one point, when he noticed some leaking taps, ordered them to be closed and repaired immediately.
Then, he summoned a meeting of all departmental heads to take an overview of the problems and challenges facing the NMC.
More shock were in store for the officers, when the fire brigade chief - who turned up in normal wear - was asked to go home to change into uniform and instructed to be always wear it at work. The officer quietly complied.
Later Mundhe made it clear to all the officers and staff that the common man will be the centre point for governance and all attention must be given to make Nashik an ideal city from all fronts, including cleanliness, environment and civic amenities.
He asked them to follow proper discipline, punctuality, work ethics and warned that anybody flouting these would not be spared at all.
The 43-year old IAS officer - who has undergone 10 transfers in as many years of service - is known to go strictly by the rule-book, and even faces threats to his life.
While the common citizens cheer wherever he is posted, bureaucrats, politicians, contractors and others turn resent his administrative style as a tough taskmaster.
At one of his earlier postings as Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Managing Director, there was a furore after he sacked 158 contract drivers for poor attendance records, as part of his efforts to make the organization more efficient.
Subsequently, as the Navi Mumbai Municipal Commissioner, all parties united to struggle for his removal even as Mundhe's popularity soared among the people.
He launched an initiative 'Walk With the Commissioner' to connect with the citizens by taking morning walks or jogging, interacting with the people to learn of their problems and expectations.
When he was posted as Solapur collector, Mundhe cracked down on the Irrigation Department and the sand mining mafia - the latter attacked him on January 13, 2016 and he barely managed to escape safely.
Mundhe was lauded for declaring nearly 12,000 water sources, including wells, tubewells, ponds, etc in Solapur "for drinking purposes only" which created sufficient potable water for the citizens with existing resources and dealt a deathly blow to the water-tanker business.
Known for his integrity and commitment, he was felicitated on several occasions by the state government including for making seven municipalities in Solapur as 'open defecation free' in 2016 and in 2015 for his outstanding contributions in that district.
The son of a small farmer in Beed's Tadsona, Mundhe was always educated in government-run institutions, first in a Zilla Parishad School and later in Government College of Arts iamp; Science in Aurangabad.
Later he completed his post-graduation in Political Science from Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University, Aurangabad before appearing and clearing the UPSC exams to become an IAS officer.