Mumbai’s citizens lay down mandate for its civic body
Activists demand systemic changes in BMC and better implementation of the city’s development plan, which is likely to be passed next monthmumbai Updated: Feb 25, 2017 01:29 IST
After the city’s 227 corporators were elected yesterday, resident associations and citizen activists have fixed a mandate for them for the next five years — ensure transparency, increase meetings in the wards and provide better civic amenities.
With 82 BJP corporators having won on the plank of transparency and development promised by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, activists say that parties should work on systemic changes in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
The newly-elected civic house also has policies that need to be cleared for the city’s benefit. These include the crucial infrastructure blueprint — Development Plan (DP) 2034 and the open spaces policy, which will determine the citizens’ access to more than 200 open spaces and its maintenance.
According to the activists, the corporators also need to solve the problem of the constant fires in the Deonar dumping ground (its closure deadline is in June) and ensure pan-implementation of the parking policy, which regulates illegal parking on the city streets.
Milind Mhaske, project co-ordinator at Praja, an NGO working towards better governance said, “The political parties must set up committees to bring systemic changes in the contract system, e-tendering, which has many flaws. Corporators must concentrate on better implementation of the city’s development plan and make a list of long-term and short-term issues to be resolved in their wards.”
The city’s infrastructure blueprint — Development Plan (DP) 2034 — is likely to be the first major decision passed by the new general body in March.
The city’s DP has been delayed for over three years. The BMC’s implementation record with previous DPs has also been low. BMC could implement only 18% of DP 1964 and 33% of DP 1991.
Thursday’s results saw a mix of old faces, many youngsters and leaders who had left civic politics, back in the BMC headquarters.
Activists also said that corporators must increase interactions by meeting residents in their ward regularly. “The area sabha concept of meeting every six months has to be implemented. The common complaint by citizens is that corporators meet them only once in five years,” said James John, an activist from Andheri.
John also said that corporators must concentrate on basic amenities like good roads, less water leakages, improved drainage capacity and solve Mumbai’s waste management issues. “All of this can be achieved by tackling corruption and improving transparency,” he added.
The Hamara Shehar Mumbai Abhiyaan (HSMA) also included regular meetings of corproators with their electorate in their citizen charter. Sitaram Shelar, from HSMA said, “Area sabhas are essential as it is the basic principle of democracy. Now that BJP has achieved so much, they must reduce the state government’s interference in decisions by the urban local body.”