State Government misses deadline to scrap NIT

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 01 Jan 2018 13:56:57

Special Correspondent,

Maharashtra Government has missed the deadline of December 31, 2017 to merge 80 years old Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) into Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) as decided by the State Cabinet last year. Highly placed sources claimed that the State Government did not issue any order of merger and is likely to give extension of six months to complete the process.

The Government has taken in-principle decision in December 2016 to oust NIT from Nagpur and take away its jurisdiction within Municipal limits. The overlapping jurisdiction of NIT and NMC was a point of friction between both the agencies and there was a demand to scrap NIT or at least drastically curtail its powers for areas within 217 sq km area of Nagpur city.

The State Cabinet had suspended NIT, in December 2016, under the provisions of rule 121 (2). The Government has formed a committee headed by Principal Secretary Urban Development- (2) Manisha Mhaiskar while NIT Chairman and Municipal Commissioner are the members of the committee to decide over transfer of immovable properties, funds, liabilities and shifting of staff from one body to other. The NIT will take care of Nagpur Metropolitan Region Development Authority (NMRDA). Recently, the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has given the nod to NMRDA plan. NIT Chairman Dr. Deepak Mhaisekar has been appointed as the first Metropolitan Commissioner. 

The State Government will require to amend Rule 121 of NIT bylaws to pave way for the dissolution and its merger in the NMC. The government will have to table these amendments before the Legislature. The high power committee has suggested amendments in the relevant sections of NIT bylaws and also in Maharashtra Municipal Corporation Act. Presently, the staff of NIT can join only NMC as per the rule, if they have to join the NMRDA then it is necessary to amend the bylaws.

Interestingly, the High Court which is hearing a pending PIL about massive bunglings in NIT is also considering an official note filed by Amicus Curiae Anand Parchure questioning the legal lacunae in scrapping the NIT without proper legal amendments. He also charged that assets and liabilities of NIT including all subsisting contracts are being transferred to NMC without any notification issued under section 121 of the NIT Act. “In absence of the notification under section 121, the action of transferring the assets and liabilities as also the contracts, on the face of it, is illegal,” the note has claimed.

It may be recalled that Devendra Fadnavis as Nagpur West MLA had filed a petition before the High Court demanding scrapping of NIT in view of 74th constitutional amendment after which two development agencies can not co-exist in one urban area. After, he became the Chief Minister, the petition was withdrawn since Fadnavis himself was key supporter of this move and had powers to take the final call.