The Sena-run civic body has decided to revamp and launch a scrapped controversial scheme in memory of the late Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray. The scheme, meant to ensure cleaner slum localities, is planned for launch around the date of Thackeray’s birthday in January. It has been named after Thackeray’s father and Samyukta Maharashtra activist Keshav ‘Prabodhankar’ Thackeray.
Hectic preparations are on at the Sena camp to apply the final finishing touches to the new scheme, called ‘Swachcha Mumbai Prabodhan Abhiyaan’, which will replace the erstwhile ‘Dattak Vasti Yojna’. The latter was scrapped after allegations of corruption, as it had been hijacked by local corporators and politicians who floated self-help groups to bag contracts.
Confirming this, additional municipal commissioner Mohan Adtani, said, “We are launching a new scheme, the details of which will be revealed soon.”
Standing committee chairman Rahul Shewale said, “The area of work of these organisations has been reduced to bring in efficiency. Each slum cluster will now comprise 750 citizens unlike a slum colony under the Dattak Vasti Yojana which comprised 1,000 persons”.
The civic body had initiated the Dattak Vasti Yojana in 2001 by appointing local self-help groups to ensure cleanliness and upkeep of slum localities, for which the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) paid them.
The new scheme, however, barely holds promise of hope for slum dwellers, and critics have called it a farce. There are no constructive changes made to the existing policy, which has merely been repackaged and presented under a new name.
Experts said the need of the hour is to establish a separate cell in the civic body, which will solely focus on maintaining cleanliness in slums. Also, currently, the organisations appointed for this work are accountable to the local ward office as a result of which their work does not receive the deserved attention, thereby affecting public health and hygiene in slums.