Despite having a grand plan to make Mumbai a global city on its mind, the state government’s budget for 2015-16 seems to have conveniently ignored infrastructure and housing, the two main hurdles on its way to realising the dream.
Picture this: Apart from an allocation of Rs110 crore for the Metro-3 project, which faces opposition from all political parties in Mumbai, there is no mention of projects for redevelopment of dilapidated buildings, BDD chawls, MUTP or the coastal road in the budget. The 29 BJP and Sena legislators from Mumbai and the civic elections, which are just two years away, too, failed to make any change in the approach.
What the budget did mention was a memorial for the late Sena chief, a chair and study centre in his name at the Mumbai university, the Shivaji statue proposed in the Arabian Sea and a memorial for Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar memorial at the Indu mill compound.
Unimpressed by the announcements, Mumbai’s legislators from the Shiv Sena, which is an ally in the current government, took a delegation to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, to express their displeasure over the lack of allocations.
“We are not unhappy with the budget. We are concerned it does not have much for Mumbai. There is no allocation for plans such as redevelopment of BDD chawls or coastal
road. We only wanted to let the CM know that while planning for the state, Mumbai should not be ignored,” said legislator and former Mumbai mayor Sunil Prabhu, who met Fadnavis.
The feeling was shared by Congress legislator from Mumbadevi, Amin Patel. “The major problems — infrastructure and housing — find no mention. The 1,000-bed plan for JJ hospital and the memorials have been mentioned in the earlier budgets too,” he said.
However, all is not lost. A few announcements such as the development of the Sanjay Gandhi National park, on the lines of Masaimara — a reserve in Africa — and provisions for the upgrade of the
Asiatic library and the JJ School of Arts may bring cheer to Mumbaiites.
In a first, Rs5 crore has been allotted for a monumentin the honour of the martyrs of the Indian defence forces, who won the Paramveer chakra.