Three Vasai-Virar Municipal Corporation officials in soup for sealing flat in Nalasopara over non-payment of Rs 7,000 tax, without checking, locking ailing 70-year-old woman inside
The doorbell serves a purpose, which these Vasai-Virar Municipal Corporation officials need to be told. A 70-year-old woman was locked in her house in Gaurav Garden society, Nalasopara (West), after three civic officials sealed the house last morning, without checking if anyone was inside, over non-payment of house tax.
The incident came to light after the garbage collector reached the flat and rang the bell. That’s when the elderly woman realised she had been locked in. The garbage collector alerted the neighbours who called up her daughter, with whom the senior citizen had been staying for the last few months.
The woman’s daughter, Anugha Powale, reached and called the police as well as the corporation.
The elderly woman has been identified as Rohini Kshirsagar, a resident of Girgaum. Sources said that yesterday morning Powale (36) had left for work and Kshirsagar was alone at home when three officials, working with the municipal corporation on a contractual basis, came to the flat, stuck a notice beside the door and put a padlock before leaving.
Society secretary Vijay Rane said, “On finding out that she had been locked in, she started screaming. A neighbour called up Powale. I called up Vasai-Virar Municipal Commissioner Satish Lokhande and told him what his officials had done. He sent a team and got the seal broken.”
“We gave her tea to calm her down, she was quite agitated,” Rane added.
“They should not have sealed the flat for such a small amount. They should have issued at least three notices before taking such action. As per the notice they pasted, it was issued on January 5 and stated that the dues had to be paid by January 6. But it was signed by deputy civic commissioner Prakash Jadhav only on January 19.”
Daughter seeks action
Powale, a purchase officer at Nirmal Hospital, who lives with her daughter and son, told mid-day, “My mother has a knee problem; both were replaced a few months back and she was recuperating at my place.”
“I left at 10 am, the children had left for college. I got a call around 11.30 am from a neighbour, after which I rushed home and later to the police station and gave a written complaint. By the time I returned, officials had unsealed the flat,” she added.
“The house is on the ground floor, windows were also open. How could the officials seal it without checking? They could have at least asked the neighbours if anyone was there. My mother is in shock; she suffers from so many ailments, has high blood pressure. Had anything happened to her, who would have taken responsibility? Strict action should be taken against the officials who did this.”
Despite repeated attempts, both Lokhande and Jadhav remained unavailable for comment.