Controversy over `illegal’ jal pujan at Morbe dam by BJP leaders

Sep 26, 2023 05:22 PM IST

Controversy in Navi Mumbai as former MP and BJP leaders perform jal pujan at Morbe dam; Congress demands police complaint for trespassing and pollution.


Controversy over `illegal” jal pujan at Morbe dam by BJP leaders . Congress demands FIR for trespassing at CBD in Navi Mumbai, India, on Monday, September 25, 2023. (HT PHOTO)
Controversy over `illegal” jal pujan at Morbe dam by BJP leaders . Congress demands FIR for trespassing at CBD in Navi Mumbai, India, on Monday, September 25, 2023. (HT PHOTO)

A controversy has erupted following a jal pujan performed by former MP Sanjeev Naik and former mayors Sagar Naik and Sudhakar Sonawane, along with former BJP corporators of Navi Mumbai at Morbe dam on Sunday. The puja was performed following the overflowing of the dam that supplies water to Navi Mumbai.

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There were media reports doing the rounds that Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) was set to file a police complaint against the leaders.

The city unit of Congress on Monday submitted a memorandum to municipal commissioner Rajesh Narvekar demanding immediate police complaint in the matter for un-sanctioned puja, trespassing and pollution of the dam. It has threatened an agitation if the demands are not met.

Said former deputy mayor and Congress leader Ramakant Mhatre, “We saw in the media reports that Sanjeev Naik and other BJP leaders performed puja at the dam illegally and put nirmalya in it. The dam does not belong to anyone’s father, but to the people of the city. The people have bought the dam and not some private individual.”

Added Mhatre, “This is not expected of a former MP like Sanjeev Naik and the former mayors. We want action in the matter.”

Stated Ravindra Sawant, spokesperson of the party, “They do not have the right to perform Jal pujan which was done only to claim credit which the jumla government is known for. It is the right of the municipal commissioner as the administrator of the Corporation.”

He added, “The dam is a restricted area and they have trespassed. Whose permission did they have to go there? They have polluted the water by putting flowers in the dam. What example are these leaders setting when we ask people to put flowers in the pots.”

Declared Sawant, “NMMC should file a police case in the matter immediately. If no action is taken in a week, we shall resort to a dharna agitation at the commissioner’s office.”

When contacted, municipal commissioner Rajesh Narvekar stated that a police complaint has not been filed yet. Asked if NMMC is planning to file a police complaint, he said, “Sunday was a holiday and today deputy chief minister was here. I will look into the issue.”

Meanwhile, BJP MLA Ganesh Naik was seen speaking to Narvekar at the meeting attended earlier in the day by Deputy CM Fadnavis at APMC market. Sources claimed that Naik was upset about reports of a police complaint being filed against his elder son and other BJP leaders and had informed Fadnavis also about it.

Denying any wrong doing, former NMMC standing committee chairman Dr Jayaji Nath who was present for the puja said, “This has been a general practice for years now to perform Jal Pujan on the day the dam overflows. There is nothing new in this. The commissioner was on leave, but some official could have come for the ritual. The administration actually does not care and hence no one was present.”

He added, “There are no question of trespassing as we are all old trustees of the city. The Naiks are tried and tested leaders of the people who got Morbe dam for the city ensuring there is no water shortage here like that in neighbouring cities. We are all responsible people and did not take anti-social elements there or burst crackers.”

On the charge of pollution he said, “Just a few flowers were put in the dam which is part of the ritual. It does not cause any pollution.”

Castigating the opposition he said, “The opposition leaders too could have performed the puja, who stopped them?”

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