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“I request the CM to reconsider and withdraw the order. It is wrong because these constituency offices are run on government allowances. Here, public grievances are resolved. How can issues be solved if we don’t facilitate a meeting between engineers and people?” Kavlekar questioned.
Initially, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had insisted that MLAs and ministers will not be allowed to hold meetings at their residences. “If you want to hold meetings these should be either in the official chamber in the case of ministers or in the offices of the collectorate. No other person can have meeting in places of his choice,” Parrikar had said. However, he later added, “Ministers can also hold meetings in the department. But not even in an MLA’s office. Officers are meant to be in offices to attend to the people.”
Earlier this month, the circular issued by Varsha Naik, undersecretary of the General Administration Department, is a watered down version of what was initially proposed by the Chief Minister, who had insisted that even MLAs had no right to summon government servants to their houses or political offices for meetings. The diluted version of this circular restricted only ministers from calling government officials to their private homes and offices for official meetings instead mandating that such meetings should be held in their official offices or at district headquarters.
Kavlekar suspects a more sinister motive behind the decision. “Assaults by MLAs on engineers is being cited as a reason. Why was the circular not issued when these specific incidents occurred? Now that the BJP has lesser numbers and Congress is stronger in the house, this government is using these means to harass us,” he insisted.