Mumbai can be transformed. If a bit of accountability is thrown in.
The verdict came to the fore at ‘Megamorphosis - Resurgence of Mumbai’, an international conference by Bombay First, an organisation formed by the business community to encourage investment in Mumbai to improve its infrastructure.
The two-day conference, which started on Tuesday, saw a motley mix of national and international speakers.
“The time has come to give up the chalta hai (laidback) approach,” said Narinder Nayar, chairman of Bombay First. “If we do not move forward constructively, we will only move backward.”
To bring in accountability, the consensus was to have a visual control room to monitor infrastructure projects.
Generally referred to as ‘war rooms’, it was suggested that one such be put up in the chief minister’s office with a
display of the state’s top 50 projects — at least 10 from Mumbai — with real-time updates on project status. The ‘war room’ idea was thrown up by a study on Mumbai’s problems and its challenges.
The study is being formulated by Bombay First with the help from infrastructure research firm McKinsey & Co.
“Mumbai’s local resources can bring in 80 per cent of funds needed for projects,” said Shirish Sankhe, director of McKinsey & Co. “What is needed is to remove bottlenecks in projects that can be done through the war room mechanism.”
London’s statutory deputy mayor Richard Barnes said the person taking decisions is held accountable. “In London, it is clear who takes what decisions and he is held responsible…” said Barnes, adding that implementation in a time-bound manner was the key.
Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority Commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad, who addressed the gathering in lieu of Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, agreed with the problems and appreciated the solutions.
“We have a huge target to spend Rs 2.60 lakh crore (USD 60 billion) in infrastructure investment till 2031,” said Gaikwad. “We are on schedule and the government needs innovative ideas and initiatives from all stakeholders.”