The Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ruled Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) received flak for its open spaces policy and the increase in costs of many of its projects.
During a debate on the BMC in the Assembly on Monday, legislators from the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) demanded that the government conduct a judicial probe into its functioning.
Congress-NCP legislators criticised the civic body for its reluctance to acquire plots meant for public purposes. Congress legislator Amin Patel, who initiated the debate, demanded that the government immediately scrap the controversial caretaker policy on maintaining open spaces. “The BMC should maintain open spaces instead of giving them to private parties under the caretaker policy,” Patel said. “Otherwise the state should take over these open spaces.”
Patel urged the government to inquire into what the BMC had done with the open spaces it had. Congress legislator Rajhans Singh alleged that while the BMC did not want to spend a few crore rupees to maintain open spaces and acquire them, it had agreed to give more than Rs 2,700 crore more to contractors by increasing costs of various work contracts.
“On the other hand, the Mayor did not want to spend Rs 63 crore to acquire plots at Juhu meant for public utilities,” he said. Patel and Singh alleged that the civic body was not keen on buying the Juhu plots. Patel also raised the issue of Seven Hills hospital at Andheri. “The BMC spent Rs 35 crore to build a cancer hospital that could not be completed due to want of funds. It later gave the facility to a private hospital to run on a Rs 10-crore lease for 60 years,” he said.
Sena legislator Subhash Desai defended the BMC saying the debate was politically motivated because the civic elections are approaching. Desai said project costs were revised after requests from corporators from various parties. The government will reply to the debate on today.