The first woman executive engineer of public works department’s south Mumbai division, Pradnya Walke, was suspended on Monday (April 2) for alleged dereliction of duty. Women officers, including Walke, have been handling all key assignments in PWD across Mumbai since a year.
Ashish Kumar Singh, principal secretary (public works department), told TOI that Walke was suspended following “adverse reports”.
Walke confirmed her suspension order to TOI and said she will move the court for relief. “It is a fact. I’m suspended. But it was a unilateral decision. Not given the opportunity to present my case, I will challenge the suspension before the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal.”
A PWD official said that following a July 27, 2017, complaint lodged by Charan Waghmare, a BJP legislator from Tumsar in Bhandara district, a preliminary probe was conducted into the repair works carried out at Manora MLA hostel in south Mumbai. The repairs were to be done in the rooms of a few legislators, including Waghmare.
He alleged that despite a bill of Rs 3.2 crore released to contractors for repairs, no work was done. Between July 2017 and February 2018, Waghmare wrote 22 complaints. The complaints were made to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, public works minister Chandrakant Dada Patil and principal secretary Ashish Kumar Singh.
Following the complaints, superintendent engineer Arvind Suryawanshi conducted a preliminary inquiry. Suspensions of deputy engineer Bhushankumar Fegde and section engineer Keshav Dhondge came into effect after Suryawanshi submitted his report.
Soon after, PWD shifted Walke to Navi Mumbai. Dhananjay Chamalwar, the flying squad in-charge and superintendent engineer, conducted an in-depth inquiry into the charges.
In his brief report, Chamalwar submitted that there was negligence of duty by Walke as she had approved the bills without verification. The suspension came into effect right after the CM approved the proposal.
A PWD official said repair bills worth Rs 76 lakh were reportedly cleared without verification.
“It is the responsibility of the executive engineer to physically verify repair works as per rules. Despite bills worth Rs 3.2 crore had been cleared, there was no work done. It’s negligence of duty of the highest order,” he said.
Featured image source: Representative image by TOI
Bhawana is an intern with SheThePeople.Tv