“I think that I could have done more for the city if I had executive powers,” said outgoing mayor of Mumbai, Shubha Raul.
Speaking to Hindustan Times at her official residence in Shivaji Park, Raul said the post should not be “merely decorative” as it presently is.
Raul, who will be relieved from her post as mayor on Monday, plans to spend more quality time with her family.
In Mumbai, it is the municipal commissioner, an Indian Administrative Service officer, who heads the civic body and is the authority for policymaking.
The mayor, on the other hand, can only give suggestions, which may or may not be considered.
Though the civic body has the funds and the expertise, good projects are often mired up in politics, said Raul.
“Forty years ago, cities like Copenhagen had thought of having metros seven floors underground…We don’t even plan our underground utilities and dig roads every now and then,” Raul said, adding that the city needs sustainable development.
Cities like London, Johannesburg and Mexico city have opted for elected mayor with real powers in the late ’90s.
“Though I played no role in policy decisions, I realised that the mayor was at least the face and voice of the city so I gave ideas like eco- friendly Ganesha celebrations,” she said. “Things don’t change overnight but people gave it thought.”
Making the Deonar and Gorai dumping grounds into green hills, closing down hookah bars are some of Raul’s initiatives.
“The next mayor should carry forward the vision,” said Raul.