How much does the civic body control the average Mumbaiite’s quality of life? The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has everything to do with every one of your complaints — potholed roads, traffic, garbage, flooding, encroachments, broken footpaths, lack of playgrounds, parking… the list goes on. This means the representatives you elect to the civic body will decide how your city develops over the next five years. Here’s why the BMC matters to Mumbai:
It is Mumbai’s architect
Ever wondered what Mumbai would look like 20 years from now? The BMC, Mumbai’s first and foremost architect, gets to decide. The civic body drafts the city’s development plan, decides how tall its buildings can be, what the ideal width of roads should be, how open spaces are reclaimed, developed and maintained, and how the city can be beautified. A Development Plan for the city up to 2034 is being finalised. It was prepared by urban planners, civil engineers and experts, but the plan is ultimately vetted by the elected body of representatives. Even your suggestions and objections are given a hearing by your political representatives, making it very important for Mumbai’s residents to vote and elect wisely
Bad ride? Blame the BMC
The BMC is responsible for 1,941.17km of roads in Mumbai. This covers all arterial and internal roads, except the Eastern Express Highway from Sion to Thane and the Western Express Highway from Bandra to Dahisar. It maintains 11 flyovers and elevated roads, 47 rail over-bridges, 104 bridges, 68 foot over-bridges and 28 pedestrian subways. It is the BMC’s responsibility to re-lay roads and bridges before the monsoon to ensure no potholes. It gives permissions when roads need to be dug up
Floods and clogged drains
Every year, Mumbai makes national, and sometimes, global news when a downpour floods it and shuts it down for a while, disrupting business and causing losses in crores of rupees. The buck stops with the civic body. More than 90% of the rainwater goes into storm water drains, instead of being absorbed by the ground as the city’s natural topography has been flattened by concretisation and haphazard construction over the years. It is the BMC’s job to ensure drains work well when 2,000mm of rain lashes the city over the four monsoon months
Littered roads, stinky drains
Somewhere between the alluring smell of frying vadas, savoury chaat and the humid salty sea breeze, Mumbai offers whiffs of putrid odours from urine, open-defecation and the other components that form the city’s waste. The city produces 9,400 tonnes of municipal solid waste every day, but the means for disposing it off is woefully inadequate — just three dumping grounds at Deonar, Mulund, and Kanjur, with the last one being the only scientific landfill.
The civic body has so far failed to provide the city with adequate toilets, especially in the slums, forcing people to defecate in the open. A survey by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment showed human waste from 36,883 households in Mumbai goes directly into open drains. The city has 79,542 toilet seats, but these are only enough to cater to 37% of Mumbai’s total slum population, records from the slum sanitation programme department show.