Mahahrashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) corporator in the Kalyan-Dombivali Municipal Corporation (KDMC), Nitin Nikam, repeatedly slapped a 65-year-old waterworks contractor Digambar Patil for allegedly failing to resolve the water crisis in Kalyan (East).
After Patil lodged a complaint with Kolsewadi police station, a non-cognisable offence was registered against Nikam under Section 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) of the Indian Penal Code. “We have filed an application to the court to investigate the matter. To maintain peace, we have notified him under Friday of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC),” said senior inspector Jagdish Lojalkar of Kolsewadi police station.
Lojalkar said it was a bailable offenc.“It was just a slap. The corporator is not a government servant and the contractor was not seriously injured,” he added.
Blaming his rage on the worsening situation and mounting pressure to fix the water problem, Nikam, who visited Sitapur Nagar along with KDMC water department chief Tarun Juneja on Saturday morning, said, “We are also educated people but if we keep holding talks with them, they just sit on our heads.”
Nikam claimed he tried speaking to the contractor politely but the latter was rude to him. It is then that he decided to resort to “MNS style”.
“For the past four days, the mains, which supply water to four wards, have not been repaired. I know the man is as old as my father but people have been suffering. He was not giving a proper reply. If I had not slapped him, the people would have beaten him up,” said Nikam.
The ‘D’ ward corporator alleged that Patil was a blacklisted contractor in the KDMC.
“People were holding morchas and complaining. As a corporator, the only thing I could do was put pressure on him. We have been receiving proper water supply since this evening. Would this have been possible otherwise?” said Nikam.
According to Nikam, there was a pipe burst in the area on Thursday morning.
“The contractor said he had fixed it when all he did was put a rubber stopper to prevent leakage. The pipe burst again in the evening. As there was a shutdown in our area on Friday, the contractor promised the problem would be solved permanently by Saturday morning. However, on Saturday, we found that nothing had been done. There was no tanker to supply water to the ward,” said Nikam.